January 6th, 2008


Well I'm in Hong Kong, but it's all been a bit of a trauma.

The flight was 11.55am, so obviously that meant getting up unnaturally early. But I managed that and got all packed and mostly ready to go in time to meet up with cryx. We got a taxi easily enough and made it to the airport with at least 2.5 hours 'til the flight left. Only when we got there, we found that there was an enormous queue for check in. I waited in the queue whilst cryx went to see how feasible it was to upgrade my ticket as that'd meant no queuing at all. She tells me I have to go over to the customer service desk (where she'd gone) as they had a query about my ticket.

Over I go only to discover the real reason why they wanted to speak to me, was because my ticket had been cancelled. It turns out that my flights homeward (via Hong Kong) were invalid because for some reasons or other, the flight from Hong Kong (via Paris) to London had to be taken within 24hours of me arriving in Hong Kong. So Qantas had cancelled my tickets. Luckily the nice lady managed to re-enable my ticket and get me an aisle seat and then book me on a different flight from Hong Kong. I then had to re-locate cryx who'd taken my place in the queue and resume queuing.

Every so often, they'd call out for anyone on a particular flight to jump ahead of the queue, cos their flight was going to leave soon. I jokingly predicated that I'd get to almost the front of the queue and then have that happen to me. I was right. It took over 1.5 hours to get as far as check in. I'm very glad cryx was there to chat to and to help out otherwise, it would have got pretty hairy I suspect. We figured that I should go and do customs rather than hang around, so at that point we said our goodbyes and I raced onwards towards the plane. Amazingly I managed to get to the plane before they'd started calling for my row number, so I had time to sit down and catch my breath.

The flight was otherwise uneventful. Choice of movies wasn't as good, mostly cos I'd seen most of them, although I did pluck up the courage to see 1408. Wasn't nearly as scary as I'd expected and had one of those endings I think I'd need to see again - possibly on a decent AV setup - just so I could understand what was going on. Hong Kong was pretty grotty looking weather-wise as we arrived. It's not particularly warm either, so I'm glad I've got my coat.

Getting the hotel wasn't as pleasant - I think I got screwed over by the taxi as they charged me far too much. The room however is nice and I've discovered where the local McDs is, so I won't starve. Annoyingly I realised only too late...and by the distance boom...that I'd missed a chance to witness the Noon day Gun being fired. Apparently that's right opposite the hotel. Have to do that tomorrow. In the mean time, I think I'm going to go out and explore and find something a bit less McD's like to eat.

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I think so far, that out of the 3 new and exciting places I've been to, Hong Kong is my least favourite. It's too crowded and confusing. I see a sign for a shop/restaurant/whatever and then I have to work out where it is. Take for example my attempt to find a cinema in one of the local shopping malls. Turns out, to get in to it, I had to go outside and around the side. Hardly what I'd consider "inside" the shopping mall.

I kinda failed to find a local eatery today. My guidebook appears to be really out of date. Every place I've tried to locate has either been replaced or just doesn't exist. I ended up eating in something random I found that appeared to be a Hong Kong take on what an Italian cafe should be like. I'm not 100% convinced, but I tried ordering the Duck Cabonnara...I think they misunderstood and gave me the bog standard ham version. And just cos it seems to be standard, I had the Tiramasu which wasn't especially great - too much creamy stuff and not nearly enough spongey goodness.

I had a good look around at the shops. It looks like getting Blu-Ray discs here is quite finacially sensible...except that most of the ones I've looked at aren't the right region. And I'm not sure there is a "fix" out for the PS3 to get around that issue. I'll have to have another look to see if there are any region free discs or something tomorrow.

I've cancelled my "Ocean Park Tour" that I don't remember booking, so that frees up tomorrow for hopefully watching the Noon Day Gun and more randomly wandering the streets of Hong Kong.

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