Posted by: hoz49 | February 15, 2008

Hong Kong International Airport

Sixteen hours in the air, 2 meals and 2 “dark” periods where the Captain turns the lights out. I think I slept soundly the last 2 hours of the flight. The rest of the time was TORTURE.

Cathay Pacific really treats its passengers well. They bring snacks and drinks around continuously, supply hot towels for your face, and even give you slippers so that you can take your shoes off and relax. Still, 16 hours in a plane is a bitch of a ride no matter how you look at it.

I struck up an intermittent conversation with an American who sat behind us throughout the flight. I noticed he was traveling light, without any carry on luggage and I originally thought he was an air marshal. But he said he was a medical psychologist and worked with a day care facility for seniors in LA. The funny thing was his clients are all Filipinos! He said there are many day care facilities that cater to ethnic groups. I guess they want to be with “their own” in their golden years.

He was headed to Thailand for a few weeks, and it was his first visit to the Orient.

Another guy I spoke with was Kevin from San Diego. Kevin and his buddy are backpacking around and hope to see Angkor Wat in Cambodia. We had a few laughs, funny how I can identify with certain youngsters better than others. Kevin looked like a “hippie” if they still have them these days.

After landing in Hong Kong we found that indeed the LA agent had mis printed our tickets to Cebu and we were several hours late for our continuing flight. We found the transit passenger counter for Cathay Pacific and explained our problem. With minimum hassle the friendly agent issued 2 new tickets for the next available Cathay flight to Cebu, 9:30 the next morning. We prepared ourselves for another night in the Terminal Zone.

The surprise is Honk Kong is THE SHIZZLE as far as airports go. Believe me, it is as clean as a hospital. Big wide corridors with spacious carpeted gates and marble walkways. We almost looked forward to sleeping here!

We have some friends who are living in HK but with only an overnight stay we didn’t want to go to the trouble of clearing customs and hopping on the train, bus or ferry to find their apartment. We would just have to go back over the same road in 5-6 hours anyway.

I took Fe to the pay in lounge to see if she wanted to take a shower, have a bite at their buffet, or take a nap on their cots. A shower only is $14 US and to stay 5 hours with food, cot, shower and massage is $80. When Fe saw the prices she said, “forget it, we can just rough it again.” .

We headed off down the main corridor to find the free internet I had read about. Halfway down I decided to check what gate our morning flight was leaving from as there are 80 numbered gates (though I could never actually find 10 of them). I wanted to try and stay in the neighborhood of our departure gate.

We were disappointed to find the tickets did not have a gate listed. Seems our flight takes off from available gates and changes daily so we would have to wait until morning to see where we had to go.

We found the Internet Zone near the end of the main hall and logged on to update Fe’s sister Lisa in Cebu about our current location and plans for the night.

Rehydrating in HNK

At the end of the hall is a food court so we took the escalators up to find some dinner. McD’s Burger King, and several noodle joints awaited us. We settled on at a nice Asian resturant and had a Pho like soup with beef brisket, bok choy, onions and noodles with a side of Shiomai, delicious! Everything was priced in HK dollars but the cashier instantly transposed to US and even gave me Uncle Sams back in change. So nice!

While ordering dinner two young Americans walked by and one shouted out, “Hey Hoz! How’s it going?” I looked around and really didn’t recognize the fellow and was surprised anyone here knew me. I asked where we knew each other from and he replied, “we were joking around in the plane and the steward told us to quiet down.” I replied, “Oh yeah! I’m sorry Kevin, I didn’t expect to see anyone I know around here” Guess I can always blame it on lack of sleep!
After dinner we returned to a nearby flight monitor to see if our morning departure had been listed, but no luck, so we continued back down the main hall to find the “Resting Areas”.

We found a quiet area off to the side of the walkway and behind the restroom cubicles. Not really cubicles, but more like a small separate building. But more on those Hong Kong restrooms later.

HNK lounge areas

The resting lounges had several reclining chairs, plants for screening and as I said sat off the side of the main hall. Fe and I each staked out our own recliners for the night. There was a group of Indians down at the opposite end that were quite loud but they quieted down after 11 pm.

I do believe I got a little sleep that night, at least 6 hours. Fe woke me up at 6am and we packed up to search for breakfast.

There was only one shop open for breakfast and I decided on oatmeal with milk instead of congee, which is a thick Chinese soup. When we got the oatmeal I was surprised to find it was thin and runny. Evidently the milk is added to the oatmeal instead of being served on the side.

After breakfast we headed to the nearest comfort station to freshen up for our morning flight. The restrooms at HK Airport are made of marble, clean, and spacious. The mens rooms even have artwork and photographs of Hong Kong over each stall! Fe said the womens didn’t have artwork or pictures and that was a little disappointing, but the cleanliness of their “comfort stations” is amazing. Believe me, America’s airports and public places could learn a few lessons about presenting their best face to visitors.

After washing up and changing into shorts we found our gate and settled in for our flight to arrive. It wouldn’t be long before we were on our last leg to the Philippines.

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Responses

  1. funny and information. nice story.
    we will soon leave for hong kong and then new zealand..

    Tnx,

    And good luck with the renal thing!!

    • Thx for your comment. Have a great trip!


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