Twists and Turns of International Travel

I’m back! After a sometimes normal and sometimes odd journey, I’m safely back in the UK, assuming nothing else happens that is. The last few days in Hong Kong were quite, mostly working, packing, chewing and sleeping my way through the days. Then of course, things started going wrong. While waiting to change from one bus to another in Central, Hong Kong, my 3 minute McDonald’s toilet trip made me miss my E11 bus, forcing me to take A11. That being said, the A11 bus was far more direct and took us on the newly opened (it was my first time at least) Stonecutters Bridge. Airport buses would usually speed-up my journey by about 15 minutes as opposed to the more winding route of Express buses. But taking an Airport bus combined with the Stonecutters Bridge route probably made the trip a further 15 minutes shorter, bringing me to Hong Kong International Airport just 35 minutes after I left Central.

Waiting... at HKIA

Getting to the airport might have been a walk in the park, getting onto the plane and off the ground certainly wasn’t. All the passengers of the massive Boeing 747-400 were set at gate 17 only to find out 15 minutes before boarding was set to start that we had been switched to gate 32, in another part of the airport near the very end of that section. So, we all had to trek over. Unsurprisingly, neither the plane nor the crew were ready at all. In fact, as I ranted on twitter, the crew calmly sat opposite me in the waiting area, chatting amongst themselves – pilot included. I didn’t board until 11:49 but we had been scheduled to take-off at 11:45. We were late on take-off, but thankfully the pilot put in some extra fuel and got us to our destination largely on time.

The plane was huge, I mean Cathay had the same type of plane, but I hadn’t realized how massive it was. I also noticed that they actually hand out Kid packs! I was too embarrassed to ask for one, but that’s something I haven’t seen in a long time, not since I flew United Airlines. The other good thing was that the entertainment system was switched on from the start and available even before take-off or the safety announcements! Apparently, switching off the cabin lights is standard procedure for night-time take-offs and landings. I had no idea.

I started off with Narnia – Voyage of the Dawn Treader and then went for The Tourist (quite liked the ending of that one). Having completed my 5 movie in a flight challenge last time, I decided to take a nap and catch-up on some sleep. It ended up being a 5 hour ‘nap’ and took up most of the flight. By the time I woke up, we were over Russia and the sun was up already. I started 007 – Tomorrow Never Dies but the entertainment system was shut-off as soon as we began our descent 😀

I’ll have to get used to the biting cold and dull UK weather. I mean it’s supposed to be a hot summers day, and instead there I was, standing in the arrival area, wearing two layers already! Terminal 5C was pretty good, but there was lots of walking required, more than an airport terminal should require, at least i my opinion. This time sadly, I wasn’t stopped by the Office of National Statistics as I had been for the last two times. Maybe they don’t station someone at Terminal 5.

Chilling at Cardiff Library

I spent most of the remaining day, well just waiting. I had breakfast at McDonald’s and sat around for 2 hours or so. Spent another hour waiting at Victoria Coach Station for my National Express to Cardiff where I thankfully got in another 3 hours of sleep. I then thankfully found refugee and internet access in Cardiff Library, but the wifi suddenly died mid-way, so I spent the rest of the afternoon writing this blogpost.

I’m now safely at David’s, getting ready for a good nights nap. Training tomorrow then it’s on to EXETER, DEVON!