Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Travel Tip

From Patrick Smith, of's "Ask the Pilot" column, explaining why he packs 5 packets of Ramen in his flight bag:

Finally, and most critically, five packets of Maruchan-brand instant ramen (assorted flavors).

If you fail to grasp why ramen noodles would be an imperative part of my repertoire, you've never been a very hungry and very broke pilot checking into a motel at midnight for an eight-hour layover. There are tastier things to eat, but ramen is cheap, it never goes bad, and its rapid cookability ensures you're rested in time for that 6:30 wakeup call.

The cellophane brick variety is preferable to the kind in Styrofoam cups because it's easier to pack and impervious to damage. Directions: 1) Rinse out the filter basket assembly of your hotel room coffee maker; 2) crush noodle brick into the carafe; 3) partially fill coffee maker with water, and switch on; 4) once carafe is full, wait three minutes; 5) drain carefully, add flavor packet, turn on Comedy Central and enjoy.

Don't overfill, and always be sure the filter basket is clean, as coffee-flavored ramen is even worse than "Creamy Chicken." Remember to carry a plastic fork (to replace the metal one stolen by the TSA), or you'll be forced to eat with your hands, or by holding two pencils in the shape of chopsticks. (If need be, you will do it, because you're that hungry, and you will feel ashamed about it the next day, when you're exhausted again and wondering if maybe you should have joined a troupe of traveling mimes instead of giving your life to the airlines.)

Truly news you can use.