Wednesday, February 1, 2012


So we arrived in Hong Kong around 2:30 PM on Saturday. I had just been catapulted thirteen hours into the future. Who says that time travel is impossible? After leaving the plane I had to get my boarding pass for the flight to Nanning. Typically, it takes about an hour for the transfer desk to process my boarding pass. I realized after a few trips that they will not issue a boarding pass to me until my luggage has been transferred from one plane to the other and this typically takes about an hour. I was a little surprised that they had moved the transfer desk to another terminal which meant i had to take two elevators and the train to the next terminal. This is a little taxing after being on a flight for fifteen hours and keeping yourself awake for the same period of time.

Eventually, I made it to the transfer desk. I was eternally grateful to see that there was a Pacific Coffee shop immediately adjacent to the transfer desk. I imagine that it was strategically placed in that location. I got the process going for my boarding pass then went next door and had a cappuccino that helped keep me awake.

Once I had my boarding pass and they transferred my luggage from air Canada to Hong Kong airline I was free to go through security. It was another long trek down an elevator then a long walk down a long corridor to my gate. At least, it seemed like a long walk because at that point I was dead tired.

At the gate, I was too tired to read so I just sat and looked around at the people coming and going. It is interesting how things that may be perfectly ordinary in their own context look very strange to a foreigner like me. At the gate, there was this young woman who was walking around the waiting area with a small bathroom scale in a box. She was asking people if she could weigh them. Everyone that she asked agreed. I watched her take the scale out of the box, place it on the floor in front of the person, they would step on the scale, she would write down the weight. After she weighed the person she would go on to someone else and repeat the process. At one point, she looked over at me. I could see that she was thinking about coming over to ask me if she could weigh me then I could see that she thought better of it and went on to someone else. What if I didn't speak Chinese? What if I refused? Better not to ask!

The flight from Hong Kong to Nanning was great, only one hour. Overall, it was a pleasant flight. The stewardesses was efficient and pleasant. They served me coffee which was greatly appreciated. I am definitely going to be taking Hong Kong airlines again. They are head and shoulders above Southern China airlines where the stewardesses are not exactly surly but they are not exactly friendly either.

I arrived in Nanning around 6:00 PM. Customs was a breeze, my luggage arrived on the carousel right away and I was out in the waiting area by 6:30 PM. The idea was that Effie, a young marketing assistant for the company I was visiting, was supposed to meet me. I didn't see her right away so I waited, and waited, and waited. I waited until 7:15 PM. Still no Effie.

A taxi driver approached me and asked if I needed a taxi. I asked him if he knew where my hotel was. He said that he. We negotiated a price and left. I find that it is better to negotiate the price before you leave the airport. There is less chance of getting a nasty surprise at the other end. We settled on 150 CNY which was probably too much but it was late and I just wanted to get to the hotel so that I could go to bed and sleep. I quickly got the impression that driver did not really know where he was going so I started to give him directions and we finally arrived at the hotel. Interestingly, or predictably, depending on how you look at it the driver told me that he did not have change for the two 100 CNY notes that I gave him. I said, no problem, let's go into the hotel, they will have change. Much to my driver's chagrin that's what we did. I paid him and he was on his way. First, though, he gave me his card along with my receipt. He told me to give him a call if I needed a driver. I really did pay him too much!

No comments:

Post a Comment