Hong Kong

Hong Kong for another day

I thought the peking duck lunch at Peking Garden was the perfect ending to this HK trip before taking the express train to the airport. After all, we had a whole duck for all four of us! However, as it turned out, HK was not done with me yet.

With nothing to do at IFC Mall due to the crowds at Lady M (that NY patisserie known for the crepe cakes) I just decided to head to the airport though it was still much too early at at 2pm, for my 7:35 flight back to Manila; but nevermind, I thought I’d sit and have a coffee somewhere at the terminal. The Rhoda and the rest of the gang were headed to the HongKong Convention Centre for the food expo.

Looking at the announcement board, I noticed that all Manila flights had been cancelled. What the heck? Checking the FB sight of the NAIA, I saw flight cancellations due to runway closure.

This is the culprit.

My heart raced as I saw 5J113 HongKong-Manila on the list. A quick check on my email and I saw the notice. Lesson learned: always check your email for any airline notice before heading to the airport.

No wonder I saw so many Pinoys waiting at the airport. At the Information Counter, I was directed to the Jardine Services counter where an unsmiling woman simply gave me a piece of paper with Cebu Pacific’s contact numbers and told me, “Call and ask them directly. We are just agents.” 2 tries and 5 minutes of waiting, I gave up. A Pinay seated in one of the chairs pointed me to row D of the check-in counter where a long line had formed. I could have my flight rebooked there, she said, just as she had earlier at 9 in the morning. I took my place in the cue though deep in my heart I knew I wasn’t gonna last long. The Pinay in front told me they were hoping to score a seat at the HK-Clark flight departing at 9pm. The problem is the guys at the check-in counters weren’t attending to the line as they seemed to be from another airline.

I stood in line for about 5 minutes then decided to leave. I called the call center again and a miracle happened! A live person came through at the other end. Umfortunately, the choices were grim: either take my flight that had been rebooked to Sunday or the only available Sat flight at 7:35pm. That means missing the CCP concert I had planned for months. I gave up and headed back to the apartment hoping to catch the gate open so I could leave a note at the door telling Rhoda I was staying the night.

Luckily, the gate was indeed left open and after knocking twice, I left my note. Decided to just stay at one of the benches just outside the MTR station so I could catch Rhoda and the others when they pass through. Plan B was to just score a room at Mongkok. I think it was about that time I was searching for rooms at the Booking.com app that they did pass through as I missed them.

Decided to try to rebook my ticket via the app and there it was — an available flight tomorrow at 9:45 am! I even managed to secure an emergency row aisle seat! So I would be doing the commentary at the concert tomorrow, it seems.

Finally got hold of Rhoda over the phone just as I was about to give up and move on to Plan B.

All’s well that ends well.

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Hello Hong Kong

So near yet never really in my travel radar, Hong Kong is one of the places I’ve always taken for granted. Maybe because I associate it with my childhood. Back in those days of expensive airfares, Hong Kong was THE place to be. It was a fabled place of exotic cuisine and legendary shopping. So I grew up going to Hong Kong a couple of times with family. It was Bangkok that marked my transition to adulthood (that’s another story).

The last time I was here was in 2013. Spent a few days snacking on dimsum before heading to Israel. Nothing has changed with this short trip. It’s still about food.

This time, I’m with my eldest sister, a family friend, and our long-time househelp who turned 60 this year and whose birthday treat this was. They’re all staying until Sunday while I’m flying home on Friday as I’ve had to alter my travel plans due to a botched-up schedule. Got a one-way Cebu Pacific outbound ticket. Too bad for my Cathay Pacific non-rebookable flight.

Just spent most of the day yesterday at the harbour, the cultural center, and Mongkok.

I really love how the Hong Kong Cultural Arts Centre is open to the public regardless if there’s a show or not. It’s a good idea really as it encourages people to explore the center and let them think about art rather than closing it off like some sacred place open only for a privilged few.

Light showers sent us taking refuge at cafes which wasn’t all that bad. This delicious soufle served like an omelet at the 3rd floor on one of those buildings in Mongkok was a pleasant surprise.

Not musical instruments this time but books were my most significant finds. Didn’t know there was an HK branch of the Taiwanese bookstore, Eslite. Saw the signage just as we rounded the corner from the star ferry terminal. Spent about HK$ 800 on a some books including a copy of Routledge’s “Philosophy and Music” which was at half price.

It was my first time to see the Symphony of Lights at the harbour. Quite nice but not really overwhelming. The harbour is beautiful at night as it is.

Now, this time the whole view, crowds included.

Hahahaha!

Unfortunately, the area where our AirBnB is, Queens Road West, seems empty of those push-cart dimsum places. We did find a small air-conditioned eatery serving good noodle soup near the HUK MTR station. The goal for today is peking duck before I head to the airport.

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