The trip has begun
It is always a little heartbreaking to say goodbye to my father – even if it is for 9 days. He is so frail and I know for him each day I am away, must stretch into lonely long hours.
Anyway, I made him promise to look after himself, said goodbye and left for the airport probably a little earlier than I should have. I don’t like last minute rushed departures which only tend to harrass.
I got to the airport at 9.45. My flight was not until 12.25. I had my laptop so I sat down and did some work until Adnan Agboatwalla and Faraz Hoodbhoy arrived. The Pixsense co-founders were headed for Manila, Jakarta and Singapore and were on the flight with me all the way to Hong Kong.
Adnan did not endear himself with me too much by teasing me about the iPhone not being my primary vehicle of communication. Faraz, however, was extremely helpful by opening up the mini pharmacy that he travels with and providing me with some pills to help ease my cough and cold.
Once we got on the flight, I made a boo-boo that I will not repeat any time soon. When the stewardess pleasantly asked how I was feeling, I told her that I was not too well. She appeared to be very concerned and asked what was wrong. I told her I had a throat infection that was driving me insane.
Next thing I knew several of the other stewardesses and the purser came over and enquired into my welfare. I must admit I was impressed by the level of attention and concern. It was only when one of the senior people from Cathay Pacific’s ground staff came and sat down and spoke to me in Urdu, that I realized that they were less concerned about me and more about the germs I might be carrying. Apparently word regarding my throat infection had been shared with the cockpit team and they were wondering if I had the H1N1 virus. I quickly assured them that this was just an allergic reaction and I had no fever or other symptoms of the swine flu.
However, throughout the flight, I received a great deal of constant attention. By the time I landed in Hong Kong I had drugged myself sufficiently so that the flu sensors didn’t detect my cold and cough. I was successful in my attempts at deceit and so I was able to exit through immigration without any problem. I was stopped at Customs though. The chappie was curious to see that I was only carrying my laptop and purse and had no luggage. He asked why I was travelling light.
When I told him I was only there for 7 hours and would be proceeding to Melbourne that evening, he looked at me suspiciously. It was only when I pulled out my HK ID card that he smiled and said “Oh you are a resident. Go ahead.”
In Hong Kong I was able to meet with my brother by taking the Airport Express – an amazing train that takes one into the city in 20-25 mins. We had coffee and also roamed in the Tsimtsatsui area and I bought a light nylon jersey. One of the things that my brother pointed out were the long queues outside shops like Louis Vuitton and Chanel. These, he said, were tourists from Mainland China. Shows the strength of the Chinese economy.
Then I headed back to the airport prior to which my brother insisted that I check out the humongous Elements Mall at the Kowloon train terminal. I am glad he suggested it because there was a free open air concert taking place in the atrium of the Elements mall that I was able to catch – nice, happy and fun environment. It was also a good photo opportunity.
Strange thing about landing in Hong Kong is that I always find myself not only walking with a spring in my step, but also find that I don’t notice the pain in my knees that has been consistent for the past six months. Miracle maybe?