I woke up bright and early at 0630. It didn’t take too long to pack up the rest of my stuff; by 0715 I was done my morning prep and packing so I headed down for my last breakfast. I settled in for breakfast with my big bag, my backpack and my laptop all with me. I knew I would have to have a big breakfast since I wasn’t going to be having lunch (the plane was leaving at 1425). I had the usual selection of buns, eggs, bacon, orange juice and noodles. The waitress brought me my coffee this time, and the nice lady that brought me my bill every day brought it to me, and asked about my departure. I told her that I would be checking out after breakfast and she said that she would go right down and have them start preparing my invoice. Great! It was going to be a much smoother checkout. After hanging around and watching the Chinese news for a while I headed down to checkout. On my way out of the restaurant I took a few pictures of the hostess and the waitress who I saw every day. Checkout was smooth. Others checking out had to wait for things to get organized etc. The pre-checkout help really sped things up.
Work was light for me in the morning. I sat around for a few hours and answered any questions that anyone might come up with. By the time I left at noon I was confident that I was going to be leaving them with a well set up system. I said my final goodbyes to everybody and thanked them for all their patience and help in getting my task completed. One of the staff came to the airport with me to ensure that I didn’t get lost or worse 🙂 (Yes dear – my kidneys survived intact!) After checking in at the counter, I proceeded to security. It’s a little more complicated than leaving home… you have to fill out a departure card, a health and quarantine card and a customs card. Paperwork! Paperwork! (Mental note – next time, travel with a pen more accessible!). After all the paperwork and people checking it, I went through the security screening. I swear to God all chinese security screening machines are simply set to go off when you walk through. It would probably beep if I walked through naked. The china southern flight was a bit late leaving, but it was a short flight, and we ended up getting to Hong Kong on time.
On the plane, I filled out my paperwork for HK arrival (again – more papers). It was a bit of a walk from where we de-planed to where we got our luggage. When I arrived at teh carousel to pick up my bag it was the 5th off the belt! Sweet! Bing Bang, through customs, and I was in HK! I popped in my HK SIM into my phone and picked up an Octopus and a return train ticket for the Airport express. I was set for HK!
Once down to the train platform, I called my sister-in-law. She was in Central waiting for me. My train ride took about 30 minutes and upon my exit, there she was. It was good to see a familiar face again. We bundled up my stuff and headed out to meet Barry down at the Regal Hotel in Causeway Bay. We hung out and had some good beer (dark and more than 3.5%) and shot some darts. It was good. Barry shoots darts there regularly so the staff were all good to us. We even popped out for dinner and left my luggage there with no fear of it walking away. We met a few of Barry’s fellow dart throwers and had a few more drinks after dinner.
Travelling makes a long day, even if it’s not much travelling. We bailed from the bar at around 2130 and I took a cab back to Aberdeen. I felt much more confident being alone in HK, having been so for 2 weeks in GZ. I managed to direct the cab driver the final blocks to the apartment right next to ours. It took me a bit to figure out why my key didn’t work. Oops. Once I figured out that part, I had the daunting task of hauling my 30Kg bag up the 4 flights to the apartment. I think my right arm is now longer than my left. Stairmaster ain’t got nuttin’ on this! I was “home”, and finally I didn’t have to worry about work if I didn’t want to. Once I figured out which bedroom I could crash in, I settled in and slept by 2300. I knew I’d have to get up and get going in the morning for my cousin-in-law’s wedding on Saturday.
One interesting note. Last year when I arrived from Vancouver to Hong Kong I commented on how polluted the air in HK was. This year, coming from China, I commented on how FRESH the air was. It’s all relative I guess 🙂