Friday, September 7, 2012

The Last Leg Before Home

We took the train back to the airport and spent the night at the airport Hilton (to the tune of 188 Euros/night) and finally, finally got a shower head that was taller than we are.  We had been crouching under showers that were about the right height for a six year old.  Yes, we could have lifted the head out of the stand and sprayed random bits of ourselves, but we're not used to that -- shower heads stay where they're supposed to in America! - and we would have sprayed the entire bathroom!

We unpacked the next day's outfits and nothing else and went down to the bar for a beer.  The lobby/bar/restaurant area was pretty much deserted.  We sat at the bar and the only other guest was sitting down at the other end, visiting with the bartender. 

We sipped our beers and ate a peanut or two from the dish on the bar.   Another guest came in, a guy about 40-45 years old who walked up and sat one barstool away from Richie.  We got to talking and it turns out that he is a private pilot for an unnamed sheik; in Paris on a layover. 

He said he lives at home in Seattle for a month with his wife and college-age daughter, then flies back to the sheik and works two months; repeat.  Occasionally, his wife flies in to join him at some exotic location. 

He said that the sheik employs three pilots, but one of them had just left and the replacement couldn't join up until some time in September.  He added that the job pays very, very well and his personal goal is to buy a 100-acre farm, and pay it off fully.

I asked if they flew US regulation hours (eight hours on duty and that's all) and he replied that they didn't because it was a privately-owned aircraft with three different sets of regulations and charter rules.  Their minimum is 10 hours.

He said the sheik is in the process of buying a new, larger plane --no, not a 747 -- I asked! but that he's "a bit lazy" about crew quarters on the plane.  In short, not awfully concerned about the pilot comforts.  I thought that was funny - I pictured an irate sheik, standing in the doorway of a closet yelling at the pilot  sleeping on the floor, "The control for my revolving, king-sized bed is not working! Do something about it!"

Next morning we had to be at the airport by 7:30 a.m.  and we overslept until 6:45!  But we made it!  The Hilton shuttle was outside the door when we tumbled through it and off we went. 

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