Sunday, January 27, 2008

Yatta! Hong Kong! Part 3

---------- Day 4 ----------

This is it, the day of departure! I always hate the last day, it signals that my adventures with Hong Kong are all but over. The last day, though sad, also bears with it a little excitement at being able to play with your toys back home. The last day also can't really be counted as a full day, as there's barely any time to shop or walk around. Even with a 6PM flight, we would still be fetched around 3PM. Which meant that by at 1PM we would be checking out of the hotel and all our stuff must be packed prior to that. Since stores open around 10:30AM to 11AM that leaves less than 2 hours to walk around for some panic shopping (that's if we skip lunch)!

We begin our day earlier than usual. We have to pack first before breakfast, that way we can have the rest of the time after breakfast until 1PM to walk around and do some last minute shopping. As you can see from the above image, I still have quite a few things to put into my bag. After we pack, and a nice hot shower. We bring our bags and essentially all of our stuff from our room to the extended room. When traveling as a group, you can usually ask your hotel to keep one room until a little after checkout time at no extra cost. Bear in mind that we would be out by 2 or 3 PM and our checkout time was 1PM, so the hotel was more than willing to grant us the 2 hour grace period.

After moving all our stuff (luggages, toys, food, toys...) we headed down to the cafe for a very quick breakfast. This morning I had yummy eggs, dumplings, an egg Benedict with bacon, a small waffle and more of that yummy coco-nutty fish. Yes it's a lot smaller than my previous breakfasts as we were in a rush to catch the opening of the malls so we could do a little more shopping, also you usually don't feel like eating when you're about to say bye bye to your vacation.

After breakfast, one of our firsts stops at the local mall was this place for some chocolates to bring home. Wellcome is a pretty cool grocer over there, first time travelers will want to keep an eye out for one of these. Hotels have some of the basic things you would need in your daily exploits amidst a foreign country. However, you may have your own preference of lotions, shampoos, toothbrushes, and other things. Also, water is given to you in bottles at the hotel (the free kind and the ridiculously priced Evian water bottles) still, you will be needing more bottles of water as walking is very dehydrating, same goes for food and other snacks. 7-11's carry water and other such necessities, but at a slightly higher price, and when shopping, its best to save every cent you can.

That day there was also a car show for mini coopers, you can just walk up to a mini cooper and play around in em all you want. This particular cooper had a top off, cool!

On our way to Toys R' Us (gifts for our friends, nephews, nieces etc), we passed by the local KFC. The KFC's over there are pretty special!

They serve REAL FOOD! Don't know what this is all about, but hey... so long as it's REAL!

We got to the toy store and began looking around for gifts to bring home, when I stumbled upon this pink monstrosity.

A pink Monopoly set, apparently it's a "girl-ed" up version of the traditional masterpiece, with more girl specific themes. You out up boutiques instead of hotels...

One of the cards for the set, instead of the railroads, they have cell phone service providers! O_o

After the quick (really quick) run through Toys R' Us, we were running out of time, so we had to say so long to all the shopping, and head back to the hotel. Once there we found out that we needed to bring down our stuff already as everyone had already checked out and was setting up camp at the lobby to wait for the bus (it was already 1:30PM!). So no time for lunch, we packed up the latest of our purchases (which go into our packs so we don't have to mess up the luggages) and proceeded to go downstairs. We camped at the lobby for about... forever! The bus ran late! SO we waited until 3:30PM! We still haven't eaten any lunch yet, so we were all pretty famished. After the uneventful bus ride we arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport again.

Again, this is probably on of the best airports in the world! Every time we go however there's barely any time left to explore the airport. Despite the late bus transfer, after processing it would be about 430 - 445PM leaving just about 45 minutes to walk around the airport a bit.

The picture above by the way, is terminal 1!

What we didn't know at the time was that Philippine Airlines is processed over at terminal 2! so we had to walk all the way to terminal two some 10-15 minutes away at another building. Above is the terminal 2 causeway that leads to the mall of the Hong Kong Airport. Yes, a mall! The airport is really more mall than it is airport! Unfortunately we needed some food fast and we had to negotiate travel back into the first terminal to get to the boarding gate where we would catch some very much needed sustenance.

Lucky for us after our boarding passes were issued over at terminal 2, we found out that we could proceed with immigration there as well. After the immigration line, the way back into the terminal 1 boarding area (post immigration) was via a train that ran within the airport (a new and necessary development due to terminal 2's construction). Above we have the boarding area for the train that runs through to terminal 2, apparently theres a train every 2 minutes.

The train ride was pretty much a new thing for me, terminal 2 just opened bout the time our group went. Notice the pretty bare tunnel that the train is passing through. That's going to be filled up with ads soon enough!

The train would drop us off exactly just after the immigration area of terminal 1, we were now on our way to the boarding gates, which were all the way at the end (another 10 minute walk!). This really ate up much of the time we had left at the airport, so yet again, I failed to walk around HKIA.

By the time we got to the gate, boarding was about to begin in practically 10 minutes, not enough time to grab a bite, so lunch would have to wait until after dinner on the plane (insert sarcasm here and here). Guess I'm pretty much hating myself for that small breakfast! This is the boarding ramp towards the plane, and as you see I am on the ramp above the one thats on the middle. The middle one is the ramp you use when you arrive here... (sigh 4 days ago I was walking down the other ramp).

On the plane, it was a pretty uneventful flight, only once they served food the group ate it all up including the trays and containers they came with so I was unable to get any pictures. Tired and hungry we eventually landed in warm Manila. We wait for what was probably 30 minutes to get our luggages from the carrel, and including immigration, it probably took us about the better part of 45 minutes to get out of the airport (sigh, Manila airports talaga!).

Back home I unpacked and set up my newly bought items, amongst our purchases we were given an exclusive Assassins Creed hoodie that came with the game! Cool! However since the cousin wearing it was really the only person it would fit on, it was given to her...

That's a wrap for my HK trip this time around! It was a blast and I hope I can go back soon!

Peace! O_o

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