Tuesday, 20th November 2007 – Hong Kong, Day 10
Tuesday got off to an even slower start than Monday, largely because it had all caught up with us finally. With a 4pm checkout time courtesy of my Priority Club Ambassador membership, we were in real hurry. We finished up sorting the photos so they could be posted, and then a little before midday we lurched down to the lobby to sort a few things out. The first was to get the various Macau goodies packaged up and posted home. The estimable Donny took charge of that, arranging to have it all packed and sent, and then ordered us a car to take us to the airport in the afternoon. And so we staggered out and wandered along the waterfront, unwittingly blundering across the shiny new Avenue of Stars, where there were large numbers of elderly Chinese tourists in yellow baseball caps, with numbered stickers indicating that they were all part of the same group, being shepherded along by a desperate looking courier who was failing to keep them all together, and having their photos taking in front of a series of odd film business-related sculptures, including Bruce Lee…
There were some amazing views across the harbour, with the beautiful clear skies really lifting everyone’s mood.
One of the most noticeable things was the dozen or so massive birds, eagles of some sort I assume, riding the thermals between the skyscrapers, then swooping down over the water to catch something (fish I assume) but they never came close enough for us to get a good look at them. They had mightily impressive wing spans, but beyond that I have no idea what they were. Attempts to look them up have drawn a blank so far as well, so if anyone knows what the large birds of prey hanging over the harbour at Kowloon are could they please tell me? From the silhouette, they look as if they might be some sort of kite.
After a bit of a wander, we settled on lunch at Blues by the Bay, where the food was excellent, although the service was more than a bit erratic. My main course turned up before I’d quite finished my starter, while Lynne’s didn’t turn up at all for a long, long time. First the waitress came back after about half an hour to say her initial choice had run out, and could she pick something else. Then after a further half hour, we were told the kitchen had overcooked the cod. Did she still want it? If so, they’d cook a fresh one?
And, despite the almost empty terrace, she was very sorry but the kitchen was very busy right now! When it finally arrived, it was superb, as was my Thai style seafood rice. And the Thai mixed starters were pretty damn good too.
Which was just as well. We didn’t leave a tip, though we weren’t too bothered as we really weren’t in a hurry. Oh, and while we were having lunch, and soaking up the sun, two late middle-aged men in shirtsleeves, wearing ties, wandered over to the harbour wall carrying a large plastic storage crate. They emptied whatever was in it into the water, took their shoes off, stood and prayed for a few minutes, then put the lid back on the box, put their shoes back on, and wandered away.
Back at the hotel, we showered, changed into fresh clothes and went to check out and wait for our car. We had one last drink in the lobby bar, while the bellboy collected our cases from our room, and then we were ushered to the car and driven to the airport, getting there way too early to even check in. However, we managed to persuade the nice people at the desk to let us do so anyway. As it turned out it really didn’t matter because the 23.35 to London was now the 03.00 to London, and there was no likelihood of them getting any of that time back. There’d been a technical hitch in Sydney and the schedule was now gone beyond rescue.
We’d intended to just have a snack in the airport, but under the circumstances there wasn’t a lot to do apart from have dinner somewhere (Grappa’s on the landside in Terminal 1 was our choice and was surprisingly good – and we ran into Massimo and Patti who were about to fly back to Italy but were stopping off for a steak before they went through security) and then clear security around 22.30 and settle in to the 24-hour business lounge to wait. And make use of the free wifi connectivity that is available all around the airport. Of course that was before the great fire alarm fiasco, when it looked as if we might never get home. I’ll merely repeat what I said then. If you are in Hong Kong airport, and you don’t want to spend an hour explaining what happened to six security guards, four Chinese police officers and a member of Virgin Atlantic crew, don’t get up and do what the announcements tell you if a fire alarm goes off. Only leave the building if everyone else goes too… I suspect what saved us was that the various security/police departments were on their best behaviour, because they’re all trying to present a good face to foreigners in the run up to the Beijing Olympics, and also someone was embarrassed because the wrong announcement had been played. We kept telling them that it was all entirely our fault, and that we were very sorry for the inconvenience, and they kept apologising, and it was all resolved without too much loss of face on either side.
And so home on the flight from hell, with all the screaming babies. I must book next year’s flight as soon as possible, so we can get business class availability away from all that!