Sunday, 14th November 2004 – London, Hong Kong, Macau, Day 1
The best way to fly long distances is definitely with the aid of narcotics! Friday’s flight was only 11 and a half hours, which is even better really than the usual flying times. I can only presume there was a tailwind or something, but whatever it was I don’t remember much about it. To our delight the new entertainment system was in place and so we had around 50 movies to chose from, and you can fast forward, rewind, pause or whatever just as if you were at home. I watched most of Bad Education before going to sleep (missed the end because I nodded off and was too tired to try and figure out where I’d got to, but I did enjoy all of what I did see. Must buy it on DVD). One sleeping pill and 8 hours later some bastard put the cabin lights on and insisted we all wake up… arrival at Hong Kong went very smoothly and the wonderful people from Estoril Tours were on hand to make sure we got to the jetfoil terminal smoothly, and of course also met us at the other end and delivered us safely to the 23rd floor of the Holiday Inn. There was a bit of confusion at check in as the paperwork we were given suggested we’d arrived on 10th November and won’t be leaving until 24th (a day later than we think we’re going home!) but I’m sure we’ll get it all sorted out when Barry gets here and we can start asking questions of the person who organised it all…
A free welcome drink in the bar translated into a very good margarita, which rapidly became two, and then three. Somewhat affected by this we retreated to our room, unpacked and ordered room service dinner, before falling into bed and taking a second sleeping pill. I remember nothing till the alarm went off at 9.30 this morning. A gentle stagger down to breakfast followed, and then we reorganised everything we’d unpacked last night. Then we decided we’d go to the Museum of Art, because they had an exhibition of paintings and calligraphy by Ba Da Shan Ren and Shi Tao. Sadly the calligraphy didn’t mean much to us, but the paintings (on loan from the Shanghai Museum and the Palace Museum) were very beautiful. There was also an exhibition of contemporary art from Macanese artists, most of which I wouldn’t want to live with. And for good measure, in the basement there was a rather odd exhibition of traditional Latin American dancing clothes (!) which was colourful in the extreme. By that time were were feeling a bit footsore, so a detour to the Museum Cafe was essential, and we sat sipping iced lattes, and watching the jetfoils out on the South China Sea (or Tea, given its colour). A brief stroll along the bay to look at the statue of Kun Iam, and then we headed for home (spotting terrapins in the pond in one of the parks on the way). Right now we’ve got our feet up and are relaxing by watching the go-kart racing on the TV, after a snack from the pastry shop in the hotel foyer (curry puffs, if you wanted to know). Tonight we’ll hop the hotel shuttle bus to the ferry terminal, and go for dinner at the Pizzeria Toscana, which kills two birds with one stone. We get dinner and we can book our lunch reservations for the four days of the GP, because the Pizzeria serves as the paddock restaurant – and it’s very busy as a result (s’also very, very good indeed).
Just encountered a hungry, jet-lagged Estonian in the lifts, while zipping around trying to sort out getting wireless broadband connectivity sorted out… Marko Asmer has arrived though his brain may still be in transit somewhere!