Thursday, January 22, 2009

What Are These Things Called "Doubles"?

Flying in the Caribbean is always enjoyable. The weather is almost always VFR, the beaches are nice, the people are friendly, and the food is good.

This last couple of months I have been making numerous trips to the city of Port-of-Spain on the island of Trinidad.

One time we even carried the Prime Minister of Trinidad on board.

Unfortunately sometimes we have to carry passengers on their final flight to their resting spot. It's a little sad to see a coffin being unloaded from the belly. This person was being flown to Trinidad for their burial.

When I first started going there, I would always hear from fellow employees that had been there saying, "did you have some doubles?" or, "make sure you try some doubles!"

So it became my mission to find out what these "doubles" were all about.

I asked around and was led to the "doubles lady". She has her own little stand at the POS airport just outside the baggage claim area.

She has now educated me on the basics of "doubles". I didn't get her name but she was kind enough to pose for a few shots in between customers.

So what are "doubles" anyhow?

They are small sandwiches made with two pieces of flat bread. Inside you will find curried garbanzo beans or chick peas. The filling is topped with any variety of sauces...some sweet and some very hot. They are supposedly the most popular street food in Trinidad & Tobago. She said that they are mostly eaten at breakfast but are still available throughout the day.

There are vendors all over the place in the islands. She works every single day from dawn till dusk. Business is very good she reported.

They must be eaten quickly as evidenced by what happens to the bag after only ten minutes. It's not grease, it's just the sauce that is a little messy.

They sure are good and at $2 for three of them it's a pilots dream come true!
So now every time I go there I must go see her for my fill of "doubles". I highly recommend them. Preflight is complete and our 767 is full of customers and a crew of 12. The two guys in the cockpit are full of "doubles" and ready for pushback. So back to Miami we go.
We get a nice look at the island as we launch to the east. In 3 1/2 hours we'll be there and probably will be hungry again!

For a look at some more of my photos, please aviate over to Plane & Simple.

Monday, January 5, 2009

What's Up In Cancun?

So how many people do you suppose would be eager to get on an airliner first thing New Years morning? Judging by the crowds at DFW I would say that number would be large.

My New Years Eve activities would be very limited due to my early morning departure the following morning. The 6 AM traffic on the freeways was very light....I was able to keep the cruise control engaged almost the entire 55 miles to the airport.

The day's trip was an easy one. Just a turnaround from DFW to Cancun and back.

The customers seemed slightly subdued as they filed past the cockpit door on the way to their seats. No doubt the effects of the prior evening were taking their toll.

Nevertheless, the plane was packed and we would soon be southbound at 41,000 feet over the Gulf of Mexico.

Halfway there we reported in with Merida Center and were promptly instructed to slow down as much as possible due to arriving traffic. No problem....we get paid by the minute!

The view was pretty good as we descended over the Yucatan Peninsula.

Number eight for the approach under mostly clear skies and we were slowed down to 170 knots on a 20 mile final. Crazy! They have a new runway under construction and they sure need it.One look down the flightline at all the airliners would seem to indicate that the tourism business in Cancun is alive and well.We'd say goodbye to these folks and soon would welcome another 188 for the return leg back home.

Brakes released and cleared for pushback and engine start....
Our call for taxi was answered with a clearance to runway 12 and to expect a delay due to outbound traffic as we were number nine in the lineup.Air Transat would be next after the arriving Jet Blue airbus and then us. But wait....another arrival. This one was an Iberworld A-330. We both remarked how low they seemed to be on final and we hoped they wouldn't land short of the runway. (Airline pilots are trained to cross the runway threshold about 50 feet high and to land in the first 1500 feet of the runway) Luckily they didn't land short but it was pretty close as the photo shows them about to touch down on the numbers. ( I saw a TWA 727 land short once in Palm wasn't pretty)So we finally launched and turned northward back to Texas. The beautiful shoreline slowly disappeared behind us and we settled in over the gulf for the afternoon leg back to base.Cancun....What a busy place.

For a look at some more of my photos, please aviate over to Plane & Simple.