Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Yiiiiiiipppppeeeeee (YVR to HKG: the King is back in Kowloon)

7 am.   Way too early.  I could sleep for so much longer !!!!
I'm not sad about leaving Vancouver, where somehow it's only natural to think about covering my webcam with a band-aid.

It's also worth getting up early for a chance to leave me room right next to a major construction site !

9:30 am.  I think Zulema's face says everything that needs to be said about Vancouver weather

 11:15 am.   We have boarding passes for the flights to Hong Kong and to Phnom Penh.  The newest thing to check in is that it's ALL done on a machine and one doesn't even get to talk to an airline clerk anymore.  Unfortunately, this means that one doesn't even get to ask for a special seat anymore.  The bloody machine just spits out a boarding pass and I have a window seat for the 13 hour flight.  Great, another aspect of flying that has become more similar to swine being transported in a truck.  This will just NOT do !  

1 pm.  Two glasses of wine later ;-)  I'm stuck in my window seat, because the plane is sold out.  Darned.  But at least the Cathay Pacific clerks are kind and nice about it.  The even apologize for the plane being late by 10 minutes !!!  In contrast, Air Canada never even once apologized for a 2.5 hour delay earlier this year!   Ah well, I'll manage to survive in a window seat.  And if not, I'm sure the person in the aisle seat will be willing to switch after i asked them 5 times to please let me out ;-)
I'm looking at an LCD screen in the gate area showing golf.  There is a digital clock next to it with the YVR logo.   The time it displays is 20 minutes LATE. You got to be kidding me.   The official YVR time display is off ??   Congratulations!  .... and the first inbred award of 2017 goes to ...... !
Go ahead, we want you to miss your plane

8 pm.
After 14 hours of 80 mph headwind, the Cathay Pacific tin tube finally lands in Hong Kong.  Longest time I've EVER spent in a plane.  Since we've been flying with the day, the window blinds were closed during almost the entire flight.  

The highlights of the flight mostly happened when I opened the blinds.  Flying over the coast of Japan just north of Tokyo, seeing Taipei glowing in the early night,and an UNBELIEVABLY gorgeous view of the lights of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon glowing through the very sparse clouds.  No picture of that last one; I was too busy staring at it with an open mouth ;-)
The coast of Japan

TIRED in the Airport Express

A quick walk to the waterfront after checking in and at 10:30 pm it's FINALLY sleep time (around 6 am Vancouver time)

4 am Hong Kong time.   That's enough sleep.   I already had an eventful morning, because on the way out of the bathroom at 2 am I did the thing again. I rammed my little toe with full force against the door jamb. Yes, I'm 95% certain that I broke the bone in my little toe AGAIN. This must be the FOURTH time now that I've broken this particular toe.  PERFECT timing, LOL, today is the first day of 30 that will see me walking around a LOT ;-)

At 5 am my coffee drinking, instant soup slurping, and other hub-bub have tortured Zu out of bed.  Who can sleep with this kind of activity going on in a tiny Hong Kong hotel room?

6:15 am. Time to go!  The Ding-Ding station is less than a block from the hotel.

Zu is happy because it's physically impossible for her to hit her head on the ceiling. I'm not that lucky.
After a bit of walking,we get to board the very first Peak Tram of the day.
By now I know my way around the peak to the very best viewing points both towards the south and the north

Note the picture perfect posture ! Or is that perfect picture posture?

What are we looking at?   A sunrise !

Did I mention that Zu is a BIG fan of the actress who plays Holly Golightly? 
(An ad for the Mme Toussaud Wax Cabinet on the peak)

I already know all the best viewpoints up here, so I show them off, LOL.

The Vetruvian gerMan

After 5 trips here and after running around the building 4 times, I FINALLY have figured out how to get to the Peak Tram again !
EVERYONE jumps out of their seat and takes picture during their first downhill peak tram ride !

Zu is getting the quick exposure to Hong Kong.  She doesn't have to discover anything (But isn't that at least half the fun????), she only has to follow her guide, yours truly.  A picture from the Star Ferry heading over to Tsim Sha Tsui.

On the Star Ferry

And now is probably a good time to explain the strange title.  

Meet the King of Kowloon.  (Wikipedia will explain who he was if you click on the italics)

Given my last name and that I've been to Kowloon, I obviously paid attention to news articles about his royal highness.  

But there is more.  Probably about 6 or 7 years ago, Fabulous Fiona, my hairdresser, returned from a trip to her hometown (Hong Kong) and presented me with a present.  

 A T-shirt sporting the calligraphy of none else than the King of Kowloon. For a while, this also was George's favourite T-shirt and he got lots of compliments of it when he was wearing it in Hong Kong just before he died.   So it should be obvious that I made very sure to pack this T-shirt before the trip.  

And of course, I am wearing it when visiting one of the last two remaining pieces of the King.  

This picture having been taken, one could say that this T-shirt has come full circle. It has its own history.  A history full of friends and love. How many pieces of clothing can one say THAT about?  

11:30 am.  We made it back to the hotel, and made use of my local knowledge to buy some palmeers and white wine on the way back.  SOMEHOW, I've managed to empty more than half that bottle within the last hour.  Ah well. Check out is at noon, and I actually leave the remnant third of the Marks&Spencer wine in the room.  

2 pm. After breezing through security and emigration, Zulema eats her first pseudo street food inside Hong Kong International Airport. Personally, I don't have anything to prove anymore and did realize that with 39 HK$, a Burger King Fish burger was much cheaper than the cheapest Chinese noodle dish, so I went with the fish burger.  Just don't tell anyone about the Budweiser beer I drank with that, LOL!

3:20 pm.  The 20 hour layover is over and it's time to board a plane that takes us to the heart of darkness ;-)

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