Tuesday, July 13, 2010

getting back to the US- part 1 of a 2 part story

I haven’t written a story for awhile and our trip back to the states seems to be a good story.

We left our city at 8a.m. local time. Right on schedule. Jonathan had wanted to cushion our departure just in case it was delayed and as anticipated it wasn’t. We arrived at 9a.m. to begin waiting for our 3 p.m. departure to Hong Kong. At first it didn’t seem like a bad idea. We had to wait for our luggage from our domestic flight. Then upstairs, through the security line and then to hunt for Cathay Pacific’s counter. We walked to the end of the airport terminal and found nothing. So we stopped to ask again. It seems that Cathay’s counter’s don’t open until noon. The morning hours belong to Saudi Arabia Airlines. It was 10:15a.m. So we sat down to wait. Or more accurately, I sat down to wait. Jonathan doesn’t sit in airports. I made myself a nest of 2 luggage trolleys, my water bottle made into Pink Lemonade, and the Asian Reader’s Digest. Jonathan and @ took and walk and returned with Krispy Kremes! Then @ and I listened to “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” on Ipod audiobook. At 11:45 we decided to head out in search of the area of the Cathay counter. We could tell that it was getting ready to be set up but as yet nothing was ready for check-in. So we waited. And watched as more Cathay attendants arrived and began to get out the counter junk. Slowly but surely Saudi Arabia Airlines attendants began to surrender ground. They were still trying to check in the last of the travelers to Mecca for the Haj and apparently some of their baggage was giving them trouble. Cathay checked us through to Bloomington, reminding us that we would have to re-check them in Detroit after clearing TSA. No problem.

Now inside the international terminal there really isn’t much to do. It was lunch time so we had sandwiches at the Starbucks (and as a travel tip: Starbucks is always a pretty safe place to get food in an international airport). As we were finishing, they began to call for our flight- 90 minutes early. So without haste, we finished lunch, went to the bookstore, stopped for a bathroom break and meandered down to our gate. The attendants were there for check in but for the life of me I can’t figure why they called it so early. @ and I settled down to play a game of memory on the floor, Jonathan wandered. When it was actually time to board, we were eager to see what Cathay service would be like on board. Cathay has been one of the best ranked airlines in the world. There’s a reason for that. @ was thrilled with the kid’s bag of activities. I was thrilled at the seat spacing and Jonathan was happy for more leg room. Then they turned on the inflight TVs and @ was over the moon. YAY for kid friendly selections and adult friendly selections. Everything about this flight was lovely. We arrived in Hong Kong feeling good but ready for our hotel room.
Hong Kong’s airport is MASSIVE. We walked for 30 minutes from our gate to immigration and that included 2 one minute speed train rides. Its crazy big. When we finally found our way out of immigration control, we were exhausted. The Regal Transit Airport Hotel was waiting for us. We finally got there after another 15 minutes walk. We got up to our room, washed up @ and he promptly fell asleep. Jonathan and I were hungry, so we called for room service and paid an unknown amount for fish and chips. I’m still foggy on the exchange rate in Hong Kong.
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