Friday, June 22, 2007

Starts with a single step

Hello again! It is now 6am Friday morning in Hong Kong. I do not remember writing that last blog entry. I was THAT tired.

Alrighty, let me back track.

Our ride to the airport was there right on time. As soon as we got into the terminal, we saw the Hogan family who will be on every flight from the US to US again. They were running on three hours of sleep as well. It's impossible to come down the night before this trip and get decent sleep. If you are someone about to travel, just know you are going to start this journey in sleep dep mode.

You know you live in a friendly city when even the TSA people are friendly. Going through security was a breeze and I actually shared laughs with the guys. Our flight to Chicago was on time. Smooth sailing, no issues there.

Chicago was insane. Is the airport always like that? We got to our gate 2 hours in advance and it was already packed with passengers. We were the minorities! You could tell the adopting families from a mile away.

I've been been on a double decker plane before. I must have seem like quite the hayseed when I stepped on board and went, "There's stairs!" Well gorsh! We were seated all the way in the back, both with window seats. Did I not say that we'd get some idiot who'd refuse to switch seats with us? WE SURE DID! We finally got a grumpy guy to switch. There was no way I was going to spend 15 hours next to some strange dude.

Now I have to warn you that this was not a pleasant flight. The high and adrenaline of the purpose of the journey quickly fades when one is that uncomfortable. We had such cramped seats, next to the area where people hang out to talk and stretch their legs. The projection screen was 14 rows ahead and impossible to see because people hang out to talk in the aisles. The movies were ones that bombed at the box office anyway, so no big loss. But let me tell you, after about four hours, you'll watch anything. If you can see the screen.

The food? That was another source of amusement for ourselves and the Hogans, who were seated across from us. They were going to serve two snacks, 1 lunch, and 1 breakfast. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Where's dinner? Ok, the snack was a mini bag of pretzels served immediately before the lunch. THey ran out of western meals before getting to us so we had some Asian dish that didn't taste Asian, nor Western. Just bad. The next snack? A small bowl of ramen noodles. Night night! Let me tell you, by Midnight, I was going crazy. I'm not a 100 pound Asian girl who can eat some Ramen and get full.

We decided to try to pass out around 10pm. However, we had kids in front of us who were fascinated with their window view. We chased daylight the entire flight and it was BRIGHT. Even with a mask on, it was super bright. That's ok, I was tired enough. Not a problem. Settle back, ahhh... "Fasten seatbelts" barked the captain. Wow, that sounded serious.

Matt and I turned on the Flight Deck audio channel to listen in. The captain was not pleased with the traffic controllers in Siberia. Apparently there had been a close call with another plane. The captain kept asking if he could increase altitude and they would tell him to hold on. He was getting verrrrry frustrated. It would have been comical to hear if our lives weren't on the line! SHEESH.

After that, put on the mask, settled back and... hit turbulence. Non stop turbulence until 1am when our ham sandwich breakfast was served. We were bouncing around so hard, it was impossible to eat. And at that point, you're so exhausted, too hot or too cold, frustrated, tired of using dirty toilets, tired of drifting off only to hear the Americans behind you laughing at the top of their lungs. What's a little plane shaking turbulence?

We finally got into Hong Kong. Oh my gosh. I have never landed over a more beautiful city. It's unreal! Mountains, water, sky scrapers. So gorgeous. That made those miserable 15 hours so worth it. It was 230am our time when we landed.

We met the Hogans outside of the date and noticed we all looked red eyed and drained. We walked together to the passport check in area. Stand in line, and someone checks and stamps your passport. Everyone's sailing through... except me. I'm standing there and the guy is reading it, looking at his screen, reading it again. Then gets out a paper that says, "Rejected." I am FREAKING OUT at this point. He calls over a supervisor who looks at everything and waves his hand. The guy stamps it again and looks past me to the next person. I asked, "Am I ok?" He nods. I go to his supervisor, "I am ok?" He nods and says, "Yes, yes, fine!"

That's when the tears started. Note I already had one breakdown on the plane 7 hours into the flight when I realized we had another 7 to go. I was missing the girls so much and was so tired and FED UP. Seriously, it's amazing what happens to your brain in this highly emotional situation. The strongest person can just shut down or freak out.

We went to baggage claim and everyone from our flight had their bags except the Americans. We were looking at each other and shrugging and hoping our bags would arrive. 20 mins later we could see a big pink monster suitcase roll onto the conveyor. Everyone cheered. Hooray for my big pink suitcase.

Then we went through another line "Nothing to declare" and I used the restroom. The Hong Kong airport? SO CLEAN. Sparkling clean. I was telling Matt how clean the toilets were when I saw a woman frantically waving a sign while doing a little dance. I looked away and that's when the dance got more frantic. It was Vince and Michelle, with a big pink Hello Kitty welcome sign.

We then went to our shuttle station for the airport. Things are done much differently in Hong Kong. A nice man in a suit tells you were to stand to wait. Then he comes to gather you. If you fall behind in line, he becomes very worried. He was like a mother duck, making sure we were all together.

The ride to the hotel was awesome. The mountains, the water! And the hotel? SWANK! A uniformed bell hop raced right to us to gather luggage. Another man opened our doors. And at checkout? Chic Asian men and women with the razored hair cuts and black glasses checked us in, making a big deal of the fact that we'd be on the Executive Floor.

We headed to the 21st floor and were greeted by two more lovely and extremely hip Asian ladies, welcoming us to the floor. They described our special amenities, including free laundry service, a cocktail hour, and free internet useage. The room is amazing. THe view overlooks the mountains and the bay. The bathroom has a wall that you can open up so the people in the room can watch you bathe? Ok, if that's what you're into. I think it's meant so that you can bathe while staring at the bay. It's a large room by Hong Kong standards. And the beds? HARD- typical Asian style! But soft covers and pillows.

We went to cocktail hour and had our sushi bites and I did that blog entry and then floated back to the room. It was lay down or fall down time. Matt went out with Vince and Michelle for dinner. I crashed until 1am where I woke up and started crying again from missing my girlies. Then back to sleep until 5am,

Here's the question everyone wants to know. Did I bathe while leaving the door open? HAH are you kidding me? Heck no. We've been married way too long for that. Tee hee. There's no kids here. Do you know how good it feels to bathe in private?

Checked in back home and the babes are fine. I still have that woozy not all here feeling which I guess it jet lag?

We are about to go downstairs for breakfast. We are told it's all Western and alllll good. Then we we will hit the town. I want to get out on the water. I want to go to the beach a bit. Not sure what else.


THank goodness for sleeping pills or I'd be up all night again tonight. Tomorrow is huge.

Well, I promised you a detailed travel blog and you're getting one. Thanks so much for following along. If you have questions, just ask in the comments.

I'll be back tonight with another update.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Wow - sounds so familiar. Totally brings me back. I hope you are loving HK right now. I can't believe you meet Juna tomorrow. My eyes are watering just thinking about it and remembering all of the emotion. I ab. could not be any happier for you guys.