But even the most trying time at YVR eventually comes to an end eventually ;-)
I make it on the plane:
As usual I fall asleep before take-off and only wake up 45 minutes later when everyone jumps up because the fasten-seat-belts sign has gone off.
I keep falling asleep and refrain from watching a single movie. My electronic cigarette at some point runs out of juice, and I remember I only filled it with a minimum amount to test it. When everyone is strapped in for landing I also muster the courage of asking the nice stewardess sitting right across from me whether she was on the Hong Kong to Vancouver flight in 2014 that had to make an emergency landing in Anchorage and fortunately she wasn't. I'm not sure how I would have reacted to hearing about the last few hours of George's life.
As soon as the plane comes to a stop, everyone jumps up to get to his carry-on luggage and keeps standing staring expectantly towards the front of the airport where the other 49 rows of people are doing exactly the same. I know the routine and just stay in my seat because I know that back here in row 50 no-one will be moving anywhere for quite a while !
Then it's time to walk quite some distance to the immigration counter. And again I appreciate the differences immediately. Despite this being a much busier airport, the cattle lines of Vancouver airport are absent here ;-)
When I have my first REAL cigarette in 15 hours just outside Hong Kong airport (by now I know the quickest way from customs to the outside ;-), I notice that they have built some new high-rises in the 1.5 years of my absence. The first time that I saw these things from the air 3.5 years ago, my brain couldn't right away accept that they were living quarters and consequently at first came up with things like futuristic grain silos.
I also instantly recognize and enjoy the lightly musty flavour of the air. It smells like someone dumped a truck-load of seaweed a couple of meters from my nose. No wonder the name Hong Kong derives from the Chinese words Fragrant Harbour ;-)
I hurry to my favourite store right around the corner from the hotel and stock up on instant noodle soups and a bottle of Chinese beer.
About 2 hours later I start a period of 24 hours of uninterrupted sleeping and throwing up. Not sure what the reason is (I suspect that Chicken Tikka @ YVR) but the end result is that at the end of those 24 hours, I realize with horror that it is already Sunday early a.m. and that tomorrow (i.e. Monday) I am already going to sit in another plane.