Today .. Thursday the 25th of February 2016 .. Patti flew home to the U.S. from Hong Kong. Here are some photos and details of Patti’s exit from Hong Kong.
Let’s begin with getting out to the Hong Kong airport.
For several good reasons I almost always take one of the many Airport Express Shuttle Buses from my residence when I am going to The Hong Kong Airport. Because the airport is located on Chek Lap Kok island off Lantau Island that is the airport’s official name .. Chek Lap Kok International Airport. No one I know calls it by its official name. Its symbol is HKG not CLK!
Why take the shuttle buses? First the Airport Express shuttle buses are free. A taxi costs HKG $ 40 or US $ 5.16. It is also a very convenient walk from The YMCA / 23 Mercer Street / The Homy Inn and it is usually fun to do. If it is raining it is not much fun.
The two photos above show one of the larger and certainly one of the premier Airport Express shuttle buses. Because of their ample seating capacity these larger buses serve the larger premier hotels. One huge advantage of the larger buses is that their luggage storage area is under the seating area. You do not have to man-handle your bags onto and down from the interior of the bus.
The photos below show the smaller shuttle buses.
The Airport Express stations in Hong Kong and Kowloon allow travelers up to 24-hours before their flight departure to check their baggage and get boarding passes without having to stand in the sometimes very long lines and the ‘hub-bub’ at the airport.
Because many ‘savvy’ travelers use the 24-hour advance check-in availability .. the Airport Express stations are usually not too crowded. If you have any ‘weight of luggage issues’ (some airlines charge HKG $ 50 or US $ 6.45 per kilogram for excess weight) you can get them resolved early. It is also very nice to be free of your baggage as you travel on the train out to the airport.
All of the above reasons for taking a shuttle bus being true .. today we took a taxi from the Homy Inn to the Kowloon Airport Express station.
Why a taxi today? For one thing a taxi is much quicker. The taxi serves only its passengers. The shuttle buses are on a half-hour loop stopping at a number of hotels. It is also easier with a taxi as I did NOT have to move Patti’s bags from the Homy Inn to the Shuttle-Bus pickup-point and I did NOT have to load the bags onto the shuttle bus and then remove them. Gads! Am I starting to show-my-age!
Lastly .. and this has happened to me .. sometimes the smaller shuttle buses are full when they reach you and past you they motor. Do you ‘want a chill’? Be in a hurry and have your shuttle bus zip past you loaded to capacity.
This was one excellent idea Captain and well worth the cab fare! How silly! In the U.S. we often pay a lot more than $ 5.16 to get to airports don’t we?
After about 15-minutes of fussing and fiddling the agent said to us ..
“The computer is down! You will have to take your baggage to the airport and check-in at the airport!”
Because the two of us had allowed a FULL FOUR HOURS to get to the airport (we left the Homy Inn at 8:50AM for Patti’s 1:15PM flight) this was really no big deal.
Luckily (luck born out of many years of flying into and out of Hong Kong) I know how to do all of this.
Clean and nice and well organized. Helpful assistance is there-for-the-asking and .. Oh Yes! .. Souvenirs (see above) are also available! Miss Hong Kong! You border on being shameless in your quest for money.
KFC has a saying .. a motto .. “We do chicken right.”
Notice above the literal armada of free luggage carts. A lady attendant was assisting me the instant the train stopped with a luggage cart in-tow and helping me to get our bags off the train. I mean as-in-NOW she was assisting me.
A look to the left from the ramp. Jumping ahead of myself here .. because I have flown out of Hong Kong a few times .. I know that the Delta Airlines check-in counter is in concourse D to the left below.
When the Delta staff spied Patti and I ‘hobbling’ along .. Patti with her cane .. The Delta staffers JUMPED TO OUR ASSISTANCE .. AS IN NOW!
Even at the airport the computers were DOWN! So everything had to be done manually including the luggage tags on all baggage. Oddly the boarding passes themselves were computer generated.
“Ma’am you will have to wait until 12:15pm for your wheel chair assistant to transport you to your boarding gate.”
“What to do with ourselves !”
Now for the ‘giggle of the day’ .. My plate is the plate at the bottom of this pair of photos. I don’t think you ‘can miss’ the fact that my plate is pretty well covered with something RED.
When Patti saw me covering my meal with something RED she fairly squeeled ..
Smiling I said to Patti offering a taste of it to her .. “Here taste it for yourself.” It was NOT by any means catsup. NO it was RED HOT VERY spicy Chinese HOT SAUCE!
I gave Patti one of my Hong Kong based cell phones to take with her back to the U.S. This allowed her to be able to call me a fair number of times after she disappeared into the heart of the departure area. We visited after she passed through security and then after she passed through immigration and then when she was at her gate about to board and finally on the plane in her seat buckled up and awaiting the call to turn off all cell phones.
She even texted me an almost frantic text : “I left my down jacket in our room!”
Do you want some LUCK !!
Patti told me that she had almost left the keys to her condo in Anchorage as well as the keys to our truck in the pocket of her down jacket! She then checked to be sure that indeed she had these vital keys in her over-the-shoulder ‘silver bag’. She did!
Imagine that if you will !!
What to do arriving back into Anchorage Alaska in the winter without keys to get into her condo or to have our truck to drive. Oh Sigh!
YES INDEED I felt a really-big-tug inside of me as I left the airport and rode the train back into Kowloon having waved goodbye to Patti after four full months together here in Hong Kong and Mongolia and India and back to Hong Kong.
We two lived a lot of adventures together this past exceedingly intense four months let-me-tell-you-all! To put it into a bit of perspective there are probably a few billion people who will not .. in their lifetimes .. see or do what we saw and did from October 25th 2015 to today February 25th 2016.
Time to press PUBLISH here .. I don’t want to get too deep into what I am feeling at this moment.
I feel joy and I feel gratitude and I feel thanks for the past four months. Patti and I were the recipients of a great gift of having these past four months together. To be honest at our ages (79 and 75) neither of us know what the future holds in store for us so all we want to feel is an overwhelming gratitude for what we were given and not sadness that the gift is complete!
On the famous zero (worst) to ten (best) rating scale Patti was an over-the-top ten! Not only did we two have several great visits here to Hong Kong but we also got to see Mongolia together with Gullible as well as spending seven weeks in India.
With respect to visiting India .. because it has been twenty (20) years since our 1996 trip to India together .. I had given up hope that Patti would ever again visit India with me. Then with regards to an India visit my best wish was that IF Patti did accompany me to India all I expected that she would be able to do was a short week or two visit to New Delhi and Agra Cantt specifically to see Jeevan Lal and the Taj Mahal.
For her to spend seven weeks with me and to also go to Goa and Pondicherry was far removed from my remote expectations of only visiting New Delhi and Agra Cantt. So how can I feel anything but gratitude for what we accomplished?
IF THE ONLY PRAYER YOU EVER SAY IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE IS THANK YOU .. IT WILL BE ENOUGH. MEISTER ECKHART
THANK YOU OH GOD OF ABRAHAM FOR OUR BLESSINGS
Smiles and may God’s Grace Be With You All .. Patti and Cap ..
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
The GOOD NEWS !
I just spoke for 43-minutes with Patti! She is safely into Seattle!
The NOT SO GOOD NEWS!
Country music singer Lynn Anderson .. who passed away last July .. released her famous international hit song that rings in my mind as I write these words :
“I beg your pardon .. I never promised you a rose garden ..”
“Along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain sometime ..
Unfortunately Patti was (throw up) sick on the flight and did not sleep at all. But her spirits were high and we had one exceptional connection. It was as if she was in the room with me here in Hong Kong!
CAPTAIN OH CAPTAIN .. IT IS TIME TO PRESS PUBLISH! WHEW! I FEEL LIKE I AM ABOUT TO GIVE BIRTH TO A CHILD. THIS POST HAS BEEN QUITE INTENSE FOR ME! OF COURSE! I VERY MUCH MISS HAVING PATTI PROOF-READ IT FOR ME.
- FEB 19, 16 .. A SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY DAY FOR PATTI ..
- FEB 26, 16 .. ‘ZILLA ASKED ME ..