by Armando Huerta
In early May of this year I was flying from Warsaw to Prague in Business Class (natch) on LOT Polish Airlines. One of the benefits of that, besides a faster check-in, is the use of the Business Class lounge. Nowadays, with check-in being required so much further in advance, while I wait for my flight I often look forward to sitting back in a nice leather chair, glass of something or other in my hand and a complimentary magazine to flip through. (Usually something I wouldn't be caught dead buying like Paris Match, HELLO or some other Euro-trash rag) Now, don't get me wrong, I am not above mingling with coach/economy/steerage trash but when presented with an alternative, I pick the latter. I'm all about alternatives... music... cuisine... lifestyle... but I digress.
There is something enticing about going into a privileged and restricted space instead of sitting on a pleather chair next to some dribbling baby while watching the family across from you package and repackage their home cooked meals into grease soaked cardboard boxes kept closed with red twine. When you're in a business/first class lounge you minimize exposure to the sort of person who takes time off from their oh so difficult crossword puzzle found in the back of an in-flight magazine to scratch their genitals with the pen they were using. Not to mention people in wife beaters and flip-flops. Granted, we are not on the maiden voyage of the QE II but it's hardly Daytona Beach people. A little decorum please…
Never having flown LOT out of Warsaw before I wasn't privy to their lounge. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. After hoofing it to the end of the terminal I came upon a blacked out glass door with Fantasia in neon lights overhead. Now, I know that Europeans are far more progressive than the puritanical bible beaters that populate the United States, but even so, I was stunned to find out they had strip clubs in the airport! Alas, it wasn't a voyeuristic palace of flesh but the rarefied and privileged business class lounge I was so desperately seeking.
Are you fucking kidding me?
As I was buzzed in I prayed that indeed the name was derived from the whimsical Disney movie with water lugging brooms and dancing hippos. Unfortunately the only hippos in there were overstuffed businessmen straight out of a New Yorker cartoon. They were about as graceful and cute as a naked hermaphrodite riding a seventies bike with a banana seat. Course... my eyes weren't directed at them but to the center of the room. Hard not to when you have strobes pulsating greenish light onto a pole. Not a Pole my friends but a pole! Unfortunately, before I could find out if the buxom, ridiculously blond lounge attendants were going to put that pole to use my flight was announced. I will never know if right after I left "Cherchez La Femme" began to blast on the speakers and an over the hill stewardess... I mean flight attendant, came out swinging her hips and jiggling her honeycombs with the nipples fetchingly concealed by pasties stamped with the airline logo. Maybe that's a good thing...
Armando Huerta originally from Brazil, lives in Boston, MA.