Thursday, 29 January 2009

The Smell of the 406....

I'm currently perched on my flatmate Jena's bed, testing my lactose intollerance with a cold chocolate breaka and a lamington. I don't have many allergies but every now and then I test the few I do to see how far they've progressed and to see if I still can't eat the foods that irritate me.

Since having moved to Dubai I've become lactose intollerant. However, my intollerance doesn't extend to all dairy and lactose products. In fact, it really just involves milk. Which makes me wonder if I AM lactose intollerant at all. Maybe it's just the crappy way the milk is pasteurised here.

Approximately once a year I test my allergy to cashew and pistachio nuts by eating some of them on board. We have bags of mixed nuts in business and first class and while they're two of my favourite nuts I figure that's one of the safest places to test the allergy - we carry epipens. For those of you lucky enough not to ever have had to see or use one, epipens are an injection of adrenaline that is administered to people who have gone into anaphylactic shock. Lucky I've never needed one - I hear getting one jabbed into your leg makes my leg sessions at the gym feel lame.

I discovered my nut allergy one day while driving to work with my boyfriend. If I can cast my mind back to the dim dark recesses of my mind, I'd say I was 20. A total chocoholic, I was eating a block of fruit and nut chocolate and I started to get an odd itching feeling in my throat. It was a weird feeling that spread to the insides of my ears and made me feel like I'd just been on a painful family driving holiday and I'd had my head stuck against the window in an effort to get as far away from my feral little brother as possible. That horrible kind of itch that you can feel for ages after it actually goes away. Kind of like the smell of vomit, it just stays with you. Anyway, I naively thought there was a problem with the chocoalte, as I'd grown up eating those nuts and not a week would go buy when Dad wouldn't buy a big bag of them when he did the groceries.

Over the next few years I worked out which nuts it was by a trial of elimination and have tried to cut them out of my life. My dear Mum is chronically forgetful and vague (wonder where I get it from?!) and is always buying and cooking meals with cashews and pistachios in them. Thankfully my allergy isn't really that major - I can eat food that's touched the nuts or had nuts cooked in it, but just can't eat the nut itself. Some people are so allergic that if they so much as SMELL nuts they go into anaphylactic shock. I once read a story about a child who died because another child in the playground at kindy licked his face and that child had eaten peanut butter hours earlier for breakfast. How devastating for the parents - thinking they could protect their little one by controlling what he ate when all it took was some little germ-infested rascal to lick his face like a dog.

Again, I digress. Anyway, I periodically test the allergy on board and while it has gotten worse over the last 6 years, I don't think I'm at terrible risk. I also just like eating the nuts and can't seem to avoid things that are bad for me. Like handsome men, they're just irresistable....and they're my downfall.

Now, Jena is a fabulous writer who spends all her time online reading other people's blogs. Like mine. I think she should write her own because I've spent many an hour howling with laughter while reading the hilarious emails she used to send home - before all of our time was taken up with facebook. She refuses to start a blog, so this is how I found myself nestled on her bed, sucking down chocolate milk and lamingtons I'd carried lovingly all the way from Australia. With her reading whatever it is she reads, and me tapping away on here, we were lazily chatting when it hit me. The milk allergy. It was alive and kicking. Mostly kicking me in the guts.

I'm not often foolish enough to drink the milk here in Dubai and after drinking some last week just after my flight took off for Melbourne, I never will again. You see, dear readers, the flight from Dubai to Melbourne is a rather long-winded 14 hours and I was stupid enough to think that a glass of ice cold milk was the perfect accompaniment to the chocolate cream biscuits I triumphantly found in the galley. It's not often we have those biscuits on board, so this was cause for celebration. That and the fact that I was headed to the most glorious country on earth to bask in beautiful summer weather and execute a shopping frenzy.

So, I knocked back only half a glass of milk and within 20 minutes realised my mistake. Luckily I don't have a super severe lactose intollerance either, but let me tell you, I certainly was aware that my stomach lining didn't appreciate an early morning wake up call. I spent the next 13.5 hours with a bloated grumbly belly that I had to drown out in the crew rest area with ear plugs. I'm not joking!! I was actually scared that when we landed and got on the bus, someone who was on the same break as me was going to angrily announce they couldn't sleep and demand to know who's stomach was talking for 4 hours! Grumbling and bloating is really as bad as I get and it certainly makes me very glad I don't have a full blown allergy - there are certainly worse symptoms than mine.

Surprised at how humid it was at 8am when we staggered out of the airport, we all crashed for a few hours at the hotel and then dragged our sorry selves out for an afternoon shopping blitz. We turned left at the crew hotel and within 10 minutes found ourselves right in the middle of Bridge Road - Melbourne's very popular discount and outlet area where designers sell one-off pieces and other shops sell out their left over stock at bargain prices. We inhaled some lunch at the first pub we saw and while it lacked air conditioning, it did allow us to hear all the juicy goss from the next table about Melbourne's latest up and coming Casanova. He happened to be sitting at the table and let me tell you, the fag-hag he was with TOTALLY put him on a pedestal. Over rated in a major way.

My stomach had calmed somewhat and after having found some gorgeous dresses and handing over my recently converted spare allowance money from an assortment of other countries for the past few months, we decided to get a drink from Boost Juice. It's been so long since I had one that I stupidly forgot that my favourite contained dairy. And boy was I sorry I forgot. Long story short, I suffered in silence and finally as we neared the hotel an eternity later and many kgs of shopping bags heavier, I felt better.

Showered and wearing a new dress, I wandered off into the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens across the street from the hotel with a book and basked in the early evening sun and soft breeze. I decided to call it a night once the sun dropped out of sight and the breeze became a gale and started to mess up my freshly blow dried hair.

Off to Auckland the next day we went, snoozed decadently in the afternoon and then sauntered out for margaritas, mojitos and mexican delights for dinner at the Mexican Cafe. We then hit a Russian vodka bar and recalling my New Years adventures I suddenly felt rather nauseous. The following day was spent lounging around my hotel room in my pjs watching Brothers and Sisters, an American series I've recently fallen head over heels in love with. I chewed through about 5 episodes and then it was time. Back to Melbourne and out for drinks and some funky live music. A friend of mine who lives in Melbourne has his finger firmly on the pulse of the music and bars/pubs/clubs scene and gave us the tip off for where we could find some funky funk tunes. Off we went to a groovy place called The Nightcat and had a great night until the incredibly arrogant first officer started being a sleazy prick and offending my mate and all his mates and pretty much anyone he spoke to. We called it a night, got stuck with him and finally shook him at a late night food stop. He then had the nerve to contact me on facebook and ask me if I'd consider breaking my "I don't date pilots rule". I wasn't actually aware I had this rule, but must've said that to him at some stage to discourage him. He's currently getting divorced and is a total catch. I mean, how hot that he'd sleaze onto EVERY ONE of the women sitting at the table, including the girlfriend of one of the guys also at the table....loser.

The next day for me was spent shopping up a grocery storm in the city. I must've done well because I had so much stuff I had to catch a taxi back to the hotel. Then came the conundrum of WHERE to put all of my loot. I'd been given permission to carry an extra bag but that just wasn't going to cut it. I'd bought about 3 litres of soy milk, the chocolate breaka poppers and so much stuff that I had to do some serious rearranging. All too soon it was wakeup time and back to Dubai we went.

I snagged a gorgeous pair of chocolate brown Ugg Boots from Purely Merino at the airport on my way out and they're currently snug on my feet. Lined with sheeps wool, they're the most comfy, warm and super Australian thing I can think of. They're also currently being worn by It Girls in public, out shopping, at concerts and pretty much anywhere else they want to flaunt their i-can-do-sleepwear-in-the-daytime-if-I-want outfits.

My own bed, my well worn pillow and the prospect of FIVE days off made Pink Poodle a very happy girl that morning.

Not to mention the thought of the lamingtons and chocolate milk I'd dragged all the way back with me!!


Krysta said...

I realized that I'd simply added your blog to my follow list without even saying hi. That's kind of creepy, I apologize. I randomly stumbled upon it and I'm trying my best to get a job with Emirates, so I found your blog very interesting and well written! :)

PS... I'm Canadian but I backpacked Australia and got addicted to Breaka. There is no chocolate milk that will ever compare.

Jena said...

Just say it Lozzie, Jena is a dead-set legend!!! ;)
But of course i'm biased.
And next time check the damn lamingtons for the presence of hooves, skin, bone & tendons (gelatine)before i get an excited sniff of 'em!
Love ya, Minxy! xo