Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Sweet Amsterdam

I used to hate the layover in Amsterdam. I used to sit in the lounge, trying to stay awake so I wouldn’t miss my next flight. Then – I learned about the showers.

You have to scramble to be one of the first to sign up. As it was, I had to wait about an hour, but I still had plenty of time. I love getting all clean between the long flights. It’s not like I am a clean freak, but when I travel, I am just so aware of my exposure to germs from all over the world – the thousands of people who have sat in this same seat, the people who have touched this doorknob, just after sneezing, the people who are coughing and not covering their mouths – I just feel so vulnerable.

And even better – after sitting is fairly close circumstances with total strangers for hours (I am not so friendly when I am traveling) I relish having one small room all to myself, quiet, privacy, just some time alone. It makes all the difference in the world, to me.

KLM seems to be updating their lounges; the new showers are really nice, modern, clean clean clean and cool – they used to be moist, steamy, HOT. I used to feel sweatier after leaving the shower than before, but now – ah! fresh!

Look! Even a hair dryer!


I totally love these showerheads, they are called something like tropical rainfall or something, but they use less water and make it sprinkle all over – I love them!


My only complaint is a small one, and maybe more perceived than real. The women working with KLM are always so nice and jokey and friendly with all the men, and with women, they seem to have an attitude like “why are you here?” and give the men special treatment. It’s not totally across the board; I have had one or two people who knocked themselves out to help me over the years, but for the most part, they are falling all over themselves to serve the men, and they are barely dutiful when they take care of their women guests.

I also hate it that, leaving Doha, they fly into Dammam and then wait there in that creepy, barren airport for over an hour. Just when I need to be getting my prime sleep, you have to sit in an upright seat for landing, and then again for take-off. Once you take off from Dammam, it is relatively peaceful, but I just hate that stopover.

August 25, 2009 - Posted by | Bureaucracy, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Hygiene, KLM, Mating Behavior, Travel


  1. “the thousands of people who have sat in this same seat, the people who have touched this doorknob, just after sneezing, the people who are coughing and not covering their mouths”

    My Goodness!

    Ok, must put these thoughts out of my head before next travels.

    Comment by 1001Nights | August 25, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the post, is that a lounge ? if so what qualify you to enter it ?

    Comment by Mohammad | August 25, 2009 | Reply

  3. LLLLOOOLLLL, 1001, don’t even get me started about how vulnerable a plane is, that’s why I started doing Sudoku. There is such a thing as overthinking, and I am guilty of an active overimagination!

    Mohammed, yes, that is the KLM Lounge, and you can use it if you are a gold card member of their Sky Team, or if you are traveling business or first class. But – for a relatively small fee – there are also showers available at the hotel, I think it is a Mercure, which is just right across the major hall from the KLM lounge; I had a friend who told me she prefers it there (she was also a gold card KLM flyer) because although you have to pay, the rooms are bigger and you don’t feel hurried. There is also a free shower in the upstairs public restroom near the (now closed) KLM lounge 42 – door that locks and everything – but you would have to have your own towel with you.

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 25, 2009 | Reply

  4. Showers between flights, yes, wonderful.

    And then there are all the other nice things about Amsterdam Schiphol Airport … If you have to spend hours between flights, it’s better and more entertaining than most. Heathrow is awful, as is Charles the Gaulle, but they’re working on it.

    About the germs, I agree. You can make yourself sick thinking about the germs πŸ˜‰ I use a towel to open airplane bathroom doors when leaving.

    Miss Footloose Tales of the Globetrotting Life

    Comment by Miss Footloose | August 25, 2009 | Reply

  5. You are right, Miss Footloose, they have done a lot to make passengers comfortable, like the quiet zones and sort of sleeper-chairs, too.

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 25, 2009 | Reply

  6. Ouestion :

    Germs and viruses how long can they stay active on door knobs or handles or rails ?? any research on that ?

    Comment by Daggero | August 25, 2009 | Reply

  7. Haha, I’ll be jumping onto a KLM flight from that creepy airport (and boy is it ever) in Dammam in just a few weeks!

    Where are those showers in Amsterdam?!?!? Have you ever treated yourself to the little spa on the second floor? Another nice treat in Amsterdam πŸ™‚

    Comment by Sprinkle | August 25, 2009 | Reply

  8. Daggero, yes, there has been research. No, I cannot remember how long. I think some bacteria were amazingly long lived. And actually, some of the worst places are not bathrooms, not the toilets, because they flush, the worst places are like the handles on faucets, door handles and knobs, telephones, computer keyboards . . . . and, the bottom of women’s purses. 😦

    Sprinkle, the showers are in the KLM lounges, in the Mercure (yes! you can rent just a shower room!) and there is also a shower in the ladies room near the meditation room on the second floor.

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 26, 2009 | Reply

  9. One of the nice things in Amsterdam too is that getting in and out of immigration is fast. So if you have the time and want to step out of the transit area you can do that!

    In January my sister drove out to the airport to spend 3 hours with us before we boarded a plane back to Kuwait. We LOVE people watching there.

    Comment by Q8Dutchie | August 28, 2009 | Reply

  10. I thought of you, Q8Dutchie! πŸ™‚

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 29, 2009 | Reply

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