Day 7 of RTW in 11 days
May 27, 2012

Just arrived in Hong Kong. It is 8:50pm. I travelled 15 hours and there was a 15 hour time change. That means I have gone from being 9 hours behind SA to 6 hours ahead of SA. Sunday went past without me noticing it. I am writing this now because if I don’t do it before I have a shower, I know for certain I will fall asleep before I get to it. I am feeling totally out of it at the moment so again excuse the missing words and typos (I am not reading it again before I send it!).

As you know, I left LA at 12:55pm on Saturday. The LA international terminal is terrible. It is far worse than any other international terminal I have been to in the last 20 years. They are finally renovating it but that renovation must be at least 10 years overdue. My first ‘Asian’ experience came at the gate when they announced just prior to boarding ‘that adults with children did not have to queue with the rest of the grown uppers but there was a separate line for them’. That isn’t a typo or the jet lag speaking. Of course their boarding system is brilliantly organized. Separately marked lines for First, Business and Economy and the economy lines are split by row number. Why don’t other airlines do the same thing? We had been warned at check-in that the plane was parked at a remote gate. I didn’t realize that meant they parked the plane in Nevada and that we had to take a 20 minute bus trip to it. And I am not exaggerating that much here. The bus trip took us to the furthest point on the airfield. They have these remote gates which are just a concrete ramp to get up the arm which links onto the plane. It is the weirdest thing I have ever seen and I have not seen it anywhere else in the world except now in LA. It actually looks rather freaky (as Chloe would say) especially since they are located so far away from the terminal. It is like a quarantine area.

Once on board I could immediately see why Cathay Pacific is just a highly rated airline. Their attention to detail is incredible. I had the privileged of traveling first class and there are only 6 seats (or should I say beds or maybe rather a better description would be double beds) in First Class. 3 cabin crew for the 6 people (3 of whom were Mexicans … in my view drug lords because why else would a Mexican be traveling First Class to HK?). 2 toilets for the 6 people (never had to wait for a toilet at any time on the flight). The TV was the size of our TV at home that we have in our bedroom. At least 35-40 cms. It had 200 movies, 500 TV shows and 888 choices of music. That excludes the games which I never even looked at. The seat has it’s own cupboard to hang your jacket and clothes. They give you a sleep suit so that you don’t crease your other clothes. Slippers so that you don’t have to walk into the bathroom barefoot or in your socks. The seat is so big you could easily fit two people next to each other. It is opulent.

As you can imagine their service is superb. They called me by name from the moment I got on the plane. They gave me a handwritten note (I have attached a photo of it). You can eat whenever you want to and they had three meal options – lunch, snack (which looked liked lunch or dinner in my view) and then dinner. I had all three at various points in the flight. I had the lunch just after take off and they have a Western option and an Asian option. When they came to ask me what I wanted they only offered me the Western option! I think they assumed I would not eat the Asian food. I quickly corrected them in that regard (especially as the Asian menu had lobster on it .. not kidding). In fact as we I finished dinner this evening the air hostess said they were very impressed that I only ate the Chinese food (which is what I did for all three meals). The food was superb. I really like Chinese food and this was just the type of food I like. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. The vegetables aren’t always recognizable but they taste good – I must just remember what their names are because I never can remember. Fortunately I can use chopsticks otherwise it would have been very messy as chopsticks is all that they gave me.

I managed to watch 3 movies again on the flight. All 3 were action/thriller ones. The 3rd movie (called The Game) got me so wound up that I decided no more movies and I went to TV shows instead. I did manage to get in two sleeps. The first one was around 4 hours and the second one of about 2 hours so roughly 6 hours in total. However, I don’t feel like I have slept 6 hours at the moment. The one thing I found amusing is how difficult it is to understand the air hostesses. They were all very quietly spoken so I was always straining to hear them and they seemed to battle to understand me as well. I had to repeat myself 2 or 3 times usually. I will have to change my intonation and say things like “Flied rice” so that they can understand me better.

The sun was setting as we landed in HK and there were thunderstorms about as well (I tried taking a photo out of the window which I have attached but it does’t look nearly as good as it did on the plane). The water is littered with boats of all shapes and sizes. The runway is built on reclaimed land and so you keep wondering where you are going to land and then you just suddenly see land and touch down. The runway lights are in the water even. Of course the airport was very busy and it took about 30 minutes to get through immigration. However, once I got through that my bag was already waiting for me. I had a car pickup service from the hotel (why travel in a taxi when you you can travel in a Mercedes S-class). It was 29 degrees when we landed at 7pm and it hasn’t cooled down at all. It is also very humid. I am staying at the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel. When you check in they come up to the room with you to do the check-in in the room rather than at a desk downstairs. I have staying on the 38th floor (there are only 39 floors) and I do have a view over the harbor (even though it is pretty dark right now).

Well that is it for today. I am going to have a shower and then go straight to bed. I have a breakfast meeting (again) tomorrow morning and a full day of meetings so I am hoping for a good nights rest so that I am not jet lagged for tomorrow’s full day.

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