April 2014


Guess Where… This one is easy!

These two pictures should give away where I am in all of… oh… a minute.

MTR Guidance Sign

Back of MTR guidance sign.

Done guessing? I’m in Hong Kong.

This is the start of my Asian Adventure – it’s a mild, easy, start: I took the long way here, flying via Tokyo on ANA. I had no way of forecasting this – the alternative (and less expensive) would have been to fly Lufthansa. Of course, when I bought the ticket I didn’t know that the Lufthansa pilots would go on strike, but they did.

I ended up training it from Berlin to Frankfurt a day early – the Berlin-Frankfurt flight was supposed to be Lufthansa – in order to make sure I caught my ANA flight. The huge plus was that I got to visit friends who I’ve shamefully neglected. The evening passed in a flash – and suddenly it was well after 10pm and we headed to bed.

The long route here meant that I could fly on ANA’s 787, which is a totally awesome airplane. Seriously. The flight from Frankfurt to Tokyo is not long enough: I would love to have spent another hour or two on the plane.

Connecting was a breeze and, albeit 30 minutes late, I was quickly getting to know Hong Kong.

The most hilarious thing, from my perspective, is how I’ve been treated at the hotel: I have elite status with the chain because I have elite status with United Airlines. Beyond that, I have not, since the 1990s, stayed in any branch of this hotel—yet I was allowed to check in through the executive lounge, I was escorted there, and I was upgraded to a suite – not a big suite, but suffice it to say I have two toilets, a living room, and a bedroom. Given that the people in the room next to my living room were living it up earlier, I am glad that my bedroom is completely and totally isolated from anybody else. Once I shut my bedroom door, I cannot hear a thing. I bet somebody could pound on my front door and I wouldn’t hear it.

I achieved my main goals of the day: First, get an Octopus card (to access local public transit) and, second, order a bespoke suit and ten shirts. I’ve dropped a serious amount of cash on this – and been carefully measured. While I’m out-of-town (that sounds odd) visiting another Asian city, my suit and shirts will be readied, and next week, when I am back, I will go in for the next round of fittings.

On the way back to my hotel I started getting hungry – and I needed to find a loo. Given that I’d been in the city for a grand total of four hours, I don’t have an internal loo-search knowledge nor do I know loo-etiquette—but I found one in the mall at the end of subway/train line – and was relieved to discover that, unlike Germany, there wasn’t somebody there demanding money.

The other problem is that I was starting to feel tired – so I knew that my decision-making abilities were rapidly going downhill. I did decide against McDonald’s and I decided against a restaurant in the mall that was virtually empty.

And this is where I am happy with my hotel: the Executive Lounge serves finger foods and refreshments starting at 17:30. I got back to the hotel at 17:25. That made the decision easy and I was sound asleep by 18:30.

Of course it’s now midnight and I am wide awake – but my suitcase has been carefully repacked.

And I’m hungry.

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