Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hong Kong 2009 part 1

As already well established in this blog, I love Hong Kong - my entire family does! So whenever my family and I go on a little trip we usually end up there, usually if the budget permits a little shopping. If not, it's usually some other Asian country, but whenever we get the chance to go, HK is on top of the list.

This year, we were able to go early, although it was after the Chinese Lunar New Year - which meant HK holiday season was out.

Anyway, so off we went on the 12th of Feb to HK!


We were taking a different airline this time around... Cathay Pacific. And normally that would give us good reason to celebrate, because back in the day when we would go to Hong Kong on grand family trips (lots and lots of family coming along practically saturating the airport with blood relatives) we would be lucky to be on a Cathay Pacific flight. To elucidate further, Cathay Pacific back in the day sported really excellent flight standards. Sure you would get to Hong Kong with an hour and thirty minutes worth of flying, but you would be served really good food and be treated to a couple of funny sitcoms and loads of movies on your personal screen.

This year we were "lucky" to be on such a flight - little did we know how wrong we would be...

Right off the bat, things were already turning sour, the flight was at such an ungodly hour. Dear Lord, some people I reckon were only just getting to bed. But for us we were on our way to the airport at 3AM!

I don't know about you folks, but to leave at three meant to wake up earlier than that, and what decent young man sleeps anywhere before 11PM? Alas, I had to try - so I slept the night before (tried to at least) at around 9 (in reality 11), so with only 3 hours of sleep I woke up at 2AM to change and ready my things for our exodus at 3.

Next up, since we were taking Cathay Pacific, we would be once again using the old Filipino classic airport. Naia 1. I don't know about you, but I used to have fond memories of Naia 1. Sadly, now Naia 1 has been reduced to a run down airport which was GROSSLY overcrowded and very much neglected.

Below is the dull common area for passengers to grab essentials such as food or a potty break before proceeding to their respective departure gates.

Since it was now 4AM, we were feeling a bit peckish, so we got whatever food we could sin order to fill up before our flight later on. We ended up eating a bunch of sandwiches (actually they were not at all that bad) and mineral water. Flying tends to dry your nose and skin so hydrating before a flight is good - make sure you pee first though as sometimes airplane lavatories are nightmares.

After a light breakfast, the family and I preceded to the pre-departure gate to wait for boarding. What took us by surprise was this mob of people! I mean, come on... I should think we would be able to ease to congestion on airports now that we actually have THREE in the same area! Sad to say it was standing room only for us while waiting for boarding.

Finally we were able to board, and in short order the plane took to wing. Now airborne, I was actually feeling a lot better, I was ravenously awaiting the scrumptious delight that Cathay Pacific would serve us for breakfast. However, breakfast service wouldn't be until about 30 minutes after take off. So I decided to whet my appetite by immersing myself with some cool movie or comedy with our personal screen.

However, I would be disappointed to find out that there were no such shows or movies for that matter. Just a looping run of exercise things and a few entertainment shows... Boring! So when breakfast finally came, I thought it would be the defining moment of the entire flight... wrong again! They served a small sandwich with some weird vegetable curry filling that was really weird!

What on earth happened to Cathay Pacific?!

Anyway, an hour and thirty minutes later we landed in Hong Kong. Much relived to be away from the dreadful flight, the family and I preceded to the gates and on to the pick up area for hotel transfer service.

Above is a poster for the in-airport tram. It really did come every 2 minutes... "Relax" already I could feel the stress of the early flight and the horrible food melting away!

Above is the train that would take us to immigration and the baggage carousel, notice that there is a glass divider that separates the train from the boarding ramp. This is now a standard feature amongst all subterranean train systems in Hong Kong. I think they have been for a couple of years now, what is interesting is that before them there were no dividers so people could theoretically get hit by a moving train while waiting on the ramp - scary...

Anyway, after a speedy immigration and baggage claim, we proceeded to the hotel transfer terminal. We were pleasantly surprised that due to the small number we came in we would take two Toyota Serena's to the hotel instead of the bus that would bunch us up with other travelers destined for their hotels also. So not only did we save a lot of time by not bringing the other travelers to their hotels, but also got to experience a wonderful way to travel in Hong Kong!

As the Serena's had large front windows, and since I had a much much better camera now than before, I was able to take a few cool scenic photos with relative ease. Above is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. I forget the name, but there it is. Below is the vehicle we traveled in. It was such a smooth ride that my cousin and sister who rode with me on car number 2 feel asleep right away.

Below are some smoggy snaps of the cityscape as it looms into view while pulling into the major business districts.

Here is another shot of the looming city.

Here is canton road, which I also like to call hotel row. On the right hand side is an entrance to Harbour City, there are quite a few, and Harbour City itself is integrated into the Omni Group of hotels, Marco Polo, Prince and my favorite Hong Kong Hotel. One could just get lost in Harbour City with all the shopping. By the way, this is also the place to get electronics from, they may be more expensive than the ones sold on Nathan, but they come with a warranty and is sure to be brand new! On the left side are some shops, malls and places to eat!

Below is Holiday Inn where we will once again stay for the duration of our stay - home base.

Stay tuned for the next segment of my latest adventure in Hong Kong!

Peace O_ox

No comments: