Sunday morning and I’m up with my 6am wake-up call (6pm Saturday back in the States) in Hong Kong after a very short sleep. Nice wakeup call — a real person who asks if you want a ring back in 15 minutes to be sure you’re awake. I like that.
Yesterday’s breakfast was so smashing, I am up at 6am just so I can do a repeat. It started well with an awesome breakfast which was, this being Hong Kong, insanely overpriced. This time it was English style scrambled Eggs, Ham, and Toast with coffee for around US$40.
I take one last look out the window of my room as I pack my last few bits, and sigh. As much as I am thrilled to be leaving the Orient and as much as I am not a fan of mainland China, my departure from Hong Kong leaves me very sad.
The Airport Express MTR line is as easy as we remember it, and surprisingly packed for a 745am Sunday departure. Everything at the airport runs smoothly and the lines are relatively short and move quick owing to the large number of employees. Hong Kong’s airport is one of the most beautiful in the world, it’s very efficient, and has plenty to do.
We’re returning on Continental. They had their Peter Max designed 777 — and as much as I like Peter Max this wasn’t what one would call an ‘attractive’ aircraft by any standard. Normally to Europe I fly Delta which as “business first” — and it’s fine. Continental has a product by the same name, but the seats are much closer together which greatly diminishes the experience. It was one of the most uncomfortable flights in recent memory mostly due to the seat. I am sore everywhere and I think I left my ass-print for all eternity in seat 8E. The service and food were fine, and the staff were great. I am not knocking anything but the seat which is simply not acceptable for a flight of that duration. And we had a tailwind that put us in nearly one hour early.
So we get to Newark about 50 minutes early, breeze through immigration (not one person in line and eight stations open). Our bags take a bit, but to be fair our plane comes in way at the end and there’s a lot of baggage. Customs is a breeze taking under 5 minutes. We encounter a long line at baggage re-check but it’s moving and we’re through in 15 minutes. We take the train from “B” to “C” instead of walking because we aren’t sure how far it is. That will prove to be a saving grace.
We get to “C” and have to go through security. We can’t even find the end of the line, but people are complaining they’ve been in it for over 1 hour and they aren’t even near the front. That’s a problem as my plane boards in an hour. People are really unhappy. We finally make our way to another checkpoint which also has a horrible line, but it’s moving due to apparently more organized people. We get through in 40 minutes. Only then do we find an “elite access” line with less than 50 people in it. Oh well — so much for the lounge before my flight.
My flight departs without incident and arrives without incident. My luggage arrives in 20 minutes which for Miami is lightning fast. I get to my car only to find someone’s run into it. Back taillight and fender are dinged. I am really pissed. I load up my stuff and go to get in, and wonder of wonders, there’s a note in my door with a phone number for the person who hit it. I’m still not happy but will call in the morning.
I am home 27 hours from the moment I left the hotel in Hong Kong.