Surviving A Long-Haul Flight

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When I was a child, the long flights to U.S.A were amazing because we were often given goody bags, the little individual TVs had the option of playing Pokemon, and once the children were invited into the cockpit to talk to the pilot. It was pretty awesome, and as someone who’s always liked aeroplane food (it all comes in little packages which I think is adorable), as a child I loved flying (minus the bathrooms).

As an adult, however, I’m a little more grumpy about flying; partly due to fear, party due to growing to nearly six foot and now I can’t stretch my legs without kicking someone. The food still amuses me though, and I have Pokemon X on 3DS so I have that covered. The bathrooms still creep me out though…

Long-haul flights can be quite exhausting, and sometimes a horrible experience. Whilst you can be so busy preparing for whichever exciting destination you’re heading too, it is also a good idea to plan a tiny bit for the actual journey.

Dress Accordingly

Whenever I read in magazines about how catch a flight in style, or celebrities photographed at airports in heels, my only reaction is “ARE THESE PEOPLE INSANE?!” If I’m catching a flight, my main concern when dressing is to opt for maximum comfort. Okay, celebrities are always judged for what they are wearing, but for the average jet setter it doesn’t make sense in my opinion to dress trendy if you’re just going to be cooped up in an airborne tin can. Dressing comfortably makes it easier to sleep and to relax, and if you need to make a mad dash to the boarding gate, well, heels won’t help. It’s also good to make sure you’re dressed warm enough if it gets cold on the plane (because those blankets provided are not much help), but also that you’re able to strip off (to an acceptable level) if it gets too hot.

Arrive in Good Time

I’ve been told that as a rule, it’s good to arrive at the airport 3 hours prior to flying for an international flight. This allows plenty of time for checking in and passing through security. It’s a nightmare to be rushing for a flight, especially one that could be expensive to replace if missed, so even if it involves getting to the airport at an unreasonable time (I for one HATE mornings..), it’s better to be wandering around duty free for a while than possibly crying at the check in or boarding gate.

Keep Well Hydrated

This is really a tip for any situation in life, because drinking water can work wonders. But when stuck on a plane for hours and hours, you may not realise that you’re not keeping hydrated enough, and as a result you can feel groggy, ill, and just a bit down. It’s always an idea to buy a bottle of water at the airport to keep on you throughout the flight.

Have Toiletries at Hand

Likewise with the water situation, a long-haul flight can make you feel groggy and well, a bit gross, so something to brush your teeth and/or wipe your face can be a great pick-me-up. The first time I visited my partner in Brazil, I didn’t bring toothpaste as I would just use his. However I wished I had some to brush my teeth before meeting him, because I ended up avoiding kissing him too much at the airport on account of my smelly breath. Romantic reunions are never like the films…

Have Entertainment A Plenty

I always look forward to the little TVs on aeroplanes, but sometimes they show nothing more than the flight path. So in my carry on luggage I like to make sure I have a couple of books, my 3DS, and earphones for my iPhone. Of course it’s always advisable to try and get some sleep on a long flight, but just in case it’s one of those times you simply cannot sleep, its good to have a variety of entertainment to keep you amused and cheerful throughout.

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Randoms Tips for Visiting Brazil

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I visited Brazil twice last year, for two weeks over the New Year period and then for six whole weeks in Easter. I’ve experienced family dinners and nights out, attempting NYE on a boat (but felt too sea sick to stay), danced a poor attempt at samba and seen monkeys in the wild. It’s a friendly, beautiful country and I love learning more and more about it.

As much as there are plenty of tips in regards to travelling around Brazil, money, safety, and touristic ventures, it is also useful sometimes to know of some random tips to ensure the best experience when visiting this vast, tropical country.

Beware of Humidity

This is very important for anyone who, like me, has thick, frizzy, curly/wavy hair, and understands what pain Monica Geller went through when yelling “It’s the humidity!”. When I visited in Easter, to save luggage weight/space I decided to leave my hair serum at home thinking “It’ll be fine, I can survive a few weeks without it”. Haha, NO. I caved in after about a week and bought some there, and next time I visit I will not be leaving my precious hair product behind. So if like me, you are in constant battle with your hair, I wouldn’t travel light in the hair care department.

If you don’t speak Portuguese, speak bluntly

This is a tip for travelling anywhere if you don’t speak the local language, as using short, simple sentences and hand gestures can help you communicate a lot. I was sat in a restaurant once, in which the waiters go around tables serving different flavoured pizza slices (it was amazing, I ate so much), and I was offered a slice of banana and ice cream pizza (dessert pizzas NEED to become a worldwide thing). I said “No thank you”, and the waiter dumped a slice on my plate anyway. Turns out I should have simply said “No” and shook my head. Even if it feels a little rude, it helps to communicate across language barriers a lot.

Street Food is Fine

Before my first trip, when I had to get about 1000000 different vaccinations (slight exaggeration), I was also given a leaflet on how to not get sick and die whilst abroad. One point that was stated was to never eat food from street stalls. This I found amusing, because I had been told many times that the hot dogs from street stalls in Brazil are amazing. It’s advice that makes sense in other countries perhaps, but I think in Brazil if it looks clean, popular, and is recommended by any Brazilian friends, it should be safe (and cheap). Also yes, the hot dogs are great. In Britain you might get some fried onions or ketchup with your hot dog, but at these stalls you can also get chicken, cheese, sweetcorn and tiny little crisp thingies plus more.

Choose Adapters Wisely

For years and years, the plus sockets of Brazil had a similar style to European plug sockets, and so usually I find myself quite okay with just using my European adapters. However sometime recently, the design in Brazil has changed, so although it still uses the two prongs as Europe does, it has a strange diamond shape. This means that if you come across the new design, your European adapter may not fit. So I have had to plug my British electronics into my European adapters that are plugged into another adapter to fit into the Brazilian plug socket. It might just be easier to buy an adapter for Brazil.

Have a Multi-Cultural Experience

An interesting thing about Brazilian people is that they seem to be descendant from nearly everywhere. They are not just of Portuguese or Indigenous heritage, but also Spanish, German, Polish, Japanese, and from all over Africa and South America, not to mention others. This means there are plenty of cultural festivals and events to experience, as well as places to visit inspired by the vast immigration to Brazil. And perhaps most importantly, it means a vast range of food to try.

Ones to Watch: Great Film Adaptions of Great Novels

There is a lot of satisfaction when, coming out of the cinema or tuning off the DVD player, you can say “It wasn’t as good as the book”. And then you bore your friends/partner/family by ranting about what the film adaption left out from the book, and how those missing pieces are what made the original story so great.

Sometimes though, a film adaption can leave you quite impressed. Maybe it’s because you watched the film before reading the book, so you didn’t judge too harshly, but once in a while it’s because the whole team behind the film actually did a damn good job.

And here are a few choices of mine that in my opinion made the cut :

Atonement (2007)

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A love story with wartime as the backdrop does not set you up for fun and laughter, this story being no exception. The cast behind this film were great: Keira Knightly and James MacAvoy did not disappoint, and the three actresses who portrayed Briony were all great leading ladies. The film visualised how the sleepy state of Britain and its inhabitants can be changed in a moment, be it a personal tragedy or war. What opens as peaceful becomes tumultuous, and the twist in the ending remains faithful to the bittersweet conclusion of McEwan’s novel.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

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Not the film sequel, because truth be told it was terrible, but the original film was as warming and as hilarious as the novel itself. I heard that there was a lot of grumbling about an American actress playing such an iconic British female character, but it is hard to imagine anyone else other than Renée Zellweger in the role. Despite this minuscule American influence it still captured the beloved quirks of British families and friends. Plus with Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, it’s hard to be any more British in a film.

The Great Gatsby (2013)

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This film was incredibly Gatsbyesque in its unashamed lavishness and being completely over-the-top. Whilst this might not be the most typical background to a tragic love story, the passion between Gatsby and Daisy was hardly conventional. I felt some scenes did not match Fitzgerald’s writing, for example the apartment party in New York was stifled and boring in the novel, but upbeat and energetic in the film. However it gave life to an old classic, and the soundtrack was both modern and jazzy, which was perfect for the adaption.

Never Let Me Go (2001)

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I adore the novel, and I adore the film too. It works because it remained very loyal to the book, which is all that bookworms ask of film directors. It captured the dreamy atmosphere of Ishiguru’s writing perfectly on camera, and the leads (Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightly, Andrew Garfield) performed incredibly. Carey Mulligan is one of my favourite actresses so she always leaves me impressed. My only criticism is that because the dark undertones of the story are subtle and at times vague, it felt that the film didn’t explain as well as the novel what exactly is in store for the children of Hailsham, and so reading the novel first helped me enjoy the film more. However, it is a film I can watch repeatedly and never tire of.

Trainspotting (1996)

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I watched the film in the ungodly hours of the morning with my best friend, because we couldn’t be bothered sleeping. Perhaps the perfect atmosphere for the film, because we were trapped in our own laziness and tiredness. The film was not as amazingly disgusting as Welsh’s writing, but it was still cringe-inducing, toe-curlingly gross at times, and that is what I love about Welsh’s stories. The dark, cynical humour remained, and Scotland was unromanticised but still beloved. Plus the scene of the “Choose Life” speech was great, kudos to Danny Boyle.