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World weather.

Friday 30th September, Madrid, Spain

I wanna start today with a sincere thankyou to those of you who have been discovering the great value offered by World Nomads travel insurance, but especially for taking the time to buy your policy through the affiliate link in my website. If you neglect that one important step, I get nothing, and that just doen't seem fair does it? Especially if it was me who told you about World Nomads in the first place. Anyway, after a few disappointingly quiet month earlier in the year, I'm proud to say that September was the third month in a row in which The Savage Files earned more than enough in commissions than it paid out in webhosting.

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Okay, you may have seen the little photo gallery from our walk around Madrid with our latest Couchsurfing guest, Ruth. Maria and I had a great time hosting Ruth, so much so that we have invited her back for a night when she is finished her trip around Spain. In fact, since we joined Couchsurfing, we have had nothing but great experiences, both as hosts here in Madrid and as guests on our trip through Eastern Europe to Russia. But our central Madrid apartment is tiny, and even as a couple we're finding the space is too limited. Anybody who is used to living in the wide open space of Australia, and is suddenly enclosed in forty square metres with another human being will understand. By the same token, anyone who has ever lived with me (in any context) will empathize with poor Maria....

We have always managed to find space for guests between the small sofa and the tele, on an inflatable mattress that wedges tightly into the small space. But after Ruth's pending return visit- perhaps until Maria and I find a bigger apartment- we're going to take a break from hosting guests. Of course we have a long way to go to catch up with my friend Mark, in London, who has hosted almost 250 guests since he joined Globalfreeloaders, another similar hospitality exchange group, run by a guy from my hometown of Brisbane. My friend Mai and I stayed with Mark last year. Mark enjoys meeting people so much that he has started a website called StayWithMark.com, complete with a photo gallery of all his guests. I should warn you though, that Mark is also considering taking a break from having so many guests. Not that he's ever had a problem- in his own words, the worst thing that has ever happened with any of his hundreds of guests is if someone uses his dishes and forgets to wash them up, or finishes his milk and doesn't replace it. That's not bad, is it? Kind of makes you rethink your view of human nature, doesn't it?

So I thought this might be a good opportunity to introduce you to some of the strangers who have become our friends after sleeping on our floor, thanks to the global phenomenon that is CouchSurfing....


Anne, from NSW, Australia. Andrew, from Warsaw, Poland. Rebecca, from Florida, USA.


Sebastian, from Hannover, Germany. Nancy from the US. Arianne, from Berlin, Germany.


Bri, from the US. Maribel, from the US. Cameron, an American living in Prague.

We stayed at Arianne's flat in Berlin, and with Andrew in Poland. Cameron was kind enough to show us around when we were in Prague, and Sebastian... well, Sebastian's name has popped up a few times in my journal over the past fourteen months. You can search for these stories, or any other past journal archive, by using the 'search journal' link on my journal page, or by clicking on the little magnifying glass below, and searching by name or keywords.
search through archived journal entries or search the entire site by keyword(s)

This doesn't take into account the dozens of great Couchsurfers who Maria and I stayed with on our trip to Russia, or the new friends we have made by having travelling Couchsurfers over for dinner, or through the various Couchsurfing get-togethers we have organized in Madrid. If you go to my profile at CouchSurfing, you'll be able to see all the friends that Maria and I have made, and follow the links to their friends, and their friends and so on. Is it any wonder there are over 30 000 CouchSurfers already? When I met CouchSurfing's founder Casey Fenton in Anchorage two years ago, membership of the fledgling group was approximately 100.

... and don't forget that this is how Maria and I met fourteen months ago. Click on the pic for that story...

And as usual, I'll try to leave you with something humourous...

West Jet is an Airline with head office situated in Calgary, Alberta. West Jet airline attendants make an effort to make the in-flight "safety lecture" and announcements a bit more entertaining. Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:

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On a West Jet flight (There is no assigned seating, you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a flight attendant announced, "People, people we're not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!"

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On another West Jet Flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew, the pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."

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On landing, the stewardess said, "Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it's something we'd like to have."

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"There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane."

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"Thank you for flying West Jet Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."

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As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at the Vancouver Airport, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella. WHOA!"

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After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Ontario, a flight attendant on a West Jet flight announced, "Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted."

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From a West Jet Airlines employee: "Welcome aboard West Jet Flight 245 to Calgary. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised."

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"In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite."

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Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than West Jet Airlines."

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"Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments."

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"As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."

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And from the pilot during his welcome message: "West Jet Airlines is pleased to announce that we have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!"

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Heard on West Jet Airlines just after a very hard landing in Edmonton: The flight attendant came on the intercom and said, "That was quite a bump, and I know what y'all are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendant's fault, it was the asphalt."

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Overheard on an West Jet Airlines flight into Regina, on a particularly windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain was really having to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Regina. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"

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Another flight attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing: "We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."

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An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the Passengers exited, smile, and give them a "Thanks for flying our airline." He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said, "Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?"
"Why, no, Ma'am," said the pilot. "What is it?"
The little old lady said, "Did we land, or were we shot down?" -------------------

After a real crusher of a landing in Halifax, the attendant came on with, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we will open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal."

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Part of a flight attendant's arrival announcement: "We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you'll think of West Jet Airways."

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Heard on a West Jet Airline flight. "Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing. If you can light 'em, you can smoke 'em."

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A plane was taking off from the Winnipeg Airport. After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude, the captain made an announcement over the intercom, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome to Flight Number 293, nonstop from Winnipeg to Montreal, The weather ahead is good and, therefore, we should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax... OH, MY GOD!"
Silence followed, and after a few minutes, the captain came back on the intercom and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier. While I was talking to you, the flight attendant accidentally spilled a cup of hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants!"
A passenger in Coach yelled, "That's nothing. You should see the back of mine!"