Friday, June 20, 2008

China Day 21: I'll Fly Away

We had the late call for breakfast, since our bus doesn't depart till 8:30. On the other hand, our plane doesn't depart till 12:45, so there will be some waiting around involved today.

Fred drove with the early group, while Frankie shepherded us lategoers to the airport. The day was gloriously sunny, and we drove past some of the nicest views of Hong Kong we've had. Too bad: Dad packed the camera in his carry-on, which was in the boot of the bus.

We passed a vast container-shipping facility with enormous cranes and equipment; Frankie says Hong Kong is #2 behind Singapore in container shipping volume and they were #1 until only two years ago. They can turn a ship around in ten hours flat.

Frankie was pretty funny today. He told us he'd been to the horse races yesterday and I asked if his horse won. He answered, "Do you see me working today?" So I guess not. He also told us the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan was in port today with six thousand sex-starved sailors on board. They are expected to spend approximately $50 million Hong Kong in the three days they are in port.

We got to the airport and began running the familiar airport maze. Dad, as usual, was wearing something with the Michigan State emblem on it - I think it was his ball cap. In the line for boarding passes, who should we meet but another Spartan! We were going up and down those snaking lines, but when we met in the middle the guys would chat. Michigan State is truly global.

We got to the gate with two hours to spare. This airport had my favorite thing ever: past the security gates they had stands of dozens and dozens of miniature baggage carts like those shopping carts you use when you're planning to carry the groceries home by hand and don't want to buy too much. They were just the right size for your carry-on luggage, and this was my first airport experience on this whole trip where I didn't end up with a crick in my shoulder and a permanent slant to the right from carrying my weighty carry-on!

Things being how they were, I thought it prudent to position myself nearby the restroom but the gate wasn't crowded so we staked out good seats. Dad has good reason to be thankful for his cast-iron digestion! Fortunately the Hong Kong Happy Rooms have been very happy indeed: all Western style and immaculately clean.

We took turns wandering around the airport taking pictures. Dad likes planes, so I hereby give you some:
My contributions to the photo record are more about my sense of humor - rickshaw as baggage cart? planter?
and this store
got me giggling, being as how they sell everything including sandwiches, luggage, ties, underwear and candy.

Dad gave me a few bucks and I located a mocha smoothie at the "My Nosh Cafe". My purchase earned me half an hour of internet time so I checked my email and posted the only realtime blog entry of this trip, plus adding about ten China-related films to my Netflix queue. Then it was time to board our plane (which Dad photographed)
and take off!

We swung out over the ocean - beautiful! -


and headed for Chicago, fourteen and a half hours from here.

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