WIAW: Airport Edition

I love airports. I love the hustle and bustle of all the people. I love the shops and bars and restaurants. I love duty free. I love hearing the announcement for departures and dreaming of exotic vacations and mundane business trips. (Yes, I dream of both. It’s weird, I know.)

But mostly I love sitting at an airport bar, sipping a beer and watching all the people rush by. I love airport people watching.

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I’m not talking about the type of people watching you do at Wal-Mart. I’m talking about watching people and imagining their stories. Where are they going? Where are they coming from? Are they happy? Sad? Frustrated? Tired? Take this couple holding hands and smiling at each other – I bet they are just returning from a honeymoon in Florida or Hawaii or Aruba. And that older couple over there? The two who look confused and somewhat lost? They are travelling to New York City to visit their son, whom they haven’t spoken to in the sixteen years since he left home to make it big as a Broadway star. Or how about that woman there, the one staring at her phone as if she’d pay money for it to ring? She’s returning home after a long distance weekend with her lover. I’m telling you, I could spend days in an airport, just writing down stories.

I’m also one of those people, despite my love of sitting in the bar and sipping beer, who is perpetually in a hurry. I hate being rushed or late so I always end up at the airport hours early, yet I insist on running to get to my gate. I’m that person weaving in and out of the tourists and first time flyers, I always walk on the moving sidewalk, and I take the stairs instead of the escalator because I hate getting stuck behind people standing on it. If there isn’t anybody ON the escalator, then sometimes I’ll take it, but even then I climb it like stairs. I don’t walk – I rush. (PS. If you’ve ever been nearly run over by me, I apologize. This comes from years of business travel – I can’t help but run.) Anyway. This inevitably ends with me at my gate with hours to kill and nothing do to – which brings me to the beer. I’ll find the bar closest to my gate, always with a view of the departures screen, and there I sit.

Not on Saturday, though. I arrived at the airport at 1000 and even though there were other people drinking beers and bloody Mary’s at the bar, that’s a little too early for me. Instead I browsed the shops, bought a t-shirt and pair of spyglasses for Little Man, had a coffee, and sat at my gate.

So. Boring.

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While I waited I ate a banana with my coffee…and that’s when I decided to use my airport eats from Saturday for a special in-flight edition of What I Ate Wednesday, hosted as usual by Jenn over at Peas and Crayons.

Admittedly, I snack a lot while travelling. Most of that is sheer boredom, but the rest is from sitting around in an airport smelling all the food. My gate was next to an Auntie Anne’s pretzel place, and I spent the rest of the day craving a cinnamon sugar soft pretzel. Anyway – how do I beat the temptation to fill my carry-on with junk food? I fill it with healthy snacks before I leave! I also make it a point to eat a meal before I have to head off – no matter what time it is. Fortunately for me, I left at 0930, which gave me plenty of time for a good breakfast beforehand.

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Because I also had to use up the contents of my fridge, I made an omelet with tomato, basil, and mozzarella, with a side of leftover roasted veggies from dinner the night before. (Sweet potato, red pepper, zucchini and carrots). For the record? I wouldn’t recommend the omelet. It was OK – but I ended up eating all the tomato and mozzarella out of the omelet and then ate the eggs. It worked to use up the veggies in my fridge, but I don’t see this being a repeat breakfast.

Anyway, I was (not surprisingly) starving by the time we boarded the plane, so I attempted to appease my hunger with a package of almonds and walnuts.

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Once we were airborne and on our way to Houston, I brought out my on-the-go snack bag. I enjoyed two homemade pork and apple sausage patties (check back tomorrow for the recipe!), some mozzarella balls, and celery sticks with natural peanut butter.

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Because the airlines are getting more and more cheap economical and I’m spending more and more time flying, I’ve started packing healthy snacks and lunches for my travel days. That way I can still constantly snack, but I’m eating good for me foods and not spending a ton of money on junk. Since I had a layover in Houston before my onward flight to California, I also packed carrot sticks, red pepper slices, an apple and a Larabar, but I got a very pleasant surprise when I checked in this morning – I got upgraded to first class on my flight from Houston to California!

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Check out all that legroom! (my legs are fully extended in this pic, just to give you a better idea.)

So with that being said — I had originally planned for this post to be “how to eat healthy while travelling” — but with my upgrade to first, all bets were off. With the amount of money I fork over to United each year, you can bet your behind I was taking full advantage of the perks when I could get them.

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First up? A cup of warm mixed nuts and a glass of red wine. I don’t know why they heat the nuts, but whateva. I’m not complaining!

Dinner was a choice of steak of pasta. Being paleo (or something close to it), you can guess what I picked.

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Steak, mashed potatoes, broccoli and carrots, a shrimp salad and a regular salad. I ate the potatoes, but I did have the willpower to turn down the bread basket. (This was mostly because the flight attendant forgot to bring it until we were almost done with our meal. Otherwise, I’d have totally eaten the rolls.)

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better?

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Yeah. No way was I turning this down. And after that was over? I enjoyed the rest of my wine and wrote some blog stuff.

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I landed in California just after 1700, and although I didn’t take a picture of it, The Man cooked up some steak and grilled zucchini for us once we got back to the house. Yes, I ate two dinners. But my body was three hours ahead of California, so I’ll chalk up my appetite to travelling and jet lag. We’ll go with it, yes?

Have a happy Wednesday, everyone! Hop on over to Jenn’s site to link up and see what everyone else has been eating lately!

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