Thursday, 23 November 2017

Drum roll !!! And .... ...... GULAG time! (HKG to GUL, eh YVR)

November 23

I am in Hong Kong.
At the airport.
At the gate.

The surprise comes at the boarding-pass-check at the gate just before entering the plane. The gate staff scans my boarding pass and instead of the single beep, the machine emits an alarm sound and starts flashing RED.  

WTF did I do?

A tall Asian gentleman approaches and says "Follow me!". WTF?
Have I been declared an international terrorist?

I am lead to a counter away from the gate area where a Caucasian woman is waiting.  Everything about her says SPOOF !  

Freedom of speech was revoked in Canada and I will now be forced to edit my blog? Is that it?

She gets out a MAGNIFYING GLASS and inspects my passport and my PR card. WTF?

After 2 minutes of this, she turns to me and her first and only words are "OK, you can go".


No SORRY? Not even a one-word explanation?  Woman you got the wrong head of cattle. I am NOT as easy as the rest of the herd.  
 “WHY did you inspect my passport?”

The woman says “I’m with the Canadian Consulate.  Routine inspection”.  All delivered in the tone of voice one might expect to hear when opening the door at 5 am to those Gestapo types in their long leather coats.

THAT is where I'm heading ;-(  And I got my first taste before even arriving there.

Hong Kong Airlines. A bit run down ....

November 23 (for the 2nd time)

11 hours later.
The plane took off at 12:30 and it lands at 7:45 both on November 23. Time travel. Pretty cooooool !

And I get to face representatives of the Canadian State again. 

Can you hear the tremolo of unbridled joy in my typing voice?

A line-up again.   The 'officers' call the next person in line NOT with "next please" as is the case in many countries, but with NEXT!  The tone has roughened.

Canadian Civility?  A thing of the past.

I won't even go into the stupid questions.  I've lost patience with those and I'm not afraid to show it.   That must make me look like someone who has nothing to hide because I don't get the 'special treatment' in the form of a secondary inspection. C'mon, how many countries still actually do those?????

When I step out of the airport I'm surprised that it's not actually THAT cold.  13 degrees.  But I quickly have to get used to the word GREY again.

Pretty it ain't !

When the Skytrain reaches Bridgeport Station, the working crowd from Richmond joins the few arriving airline travelers and it's standing room only.

Ever seen the 1927 silent movie Metropolis?  If not, you should.
I finally clued into what the to/from work crowd in Vancouver or Hong Kong reminded me of.  It is just so depressing walking past 100s of people, all devoid of a smile, (I am reminded of Olga on Phu Quoc mentioning entire city populations looking as if someone had died) not talking to each other, all with their heads down, hiding their miserable faces.    

Maybe someone should remake Metropolis.  Just add a ghostly glow to the worker's faces and let them all hold a small electronic device, and this 90 year old movie would be completely up-to-date again.

Just replace a mine-shaft elevator by the doors of a public transit system and you have it

And while you see those miserable masses trot to and from work, ALL I hear on the radio of the rental car at least once every two minutes is "BLACK FRIDAY.  SHOPPING will get you out of your misery !" (The small print:  you will have to STAY at work FOREVER to pay off your credit card debts)

But I digress. Must not waste time while you are desperately looking at this blog from your insurance/government/huge company office computer in a desperate attempt to make these endless 8 hours go by faster.  (NO, I'm not trying to be an ass; au contraire; I'm trying to show that REAL life still exists beyond those office dividers ;-)  

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