Wednesday, February 08, 2012

On the Way To Hong Kong....

The flight was far too early, as it always seems to be.. we woke up at 5:30 am and grabbed a cab. Then it was to Seoul Station and the AREX train to Incheon. Incheon, as usual, splendid. Then on to our first flight, which was spoiled by a hideous young boy… Korean parents… kid screaming and fighting with his parents, at one point physically fighting with the mother, and the father pretty much checking out by putting on headphones.

One of the top 10 or 20 bad kids I’ve ever been near on a flight.

As we finally descended into Shanghai, Yvonne noticed something weird about the weather. She noticed that there were two layers of clouds, we burst through one, then could see, some distance below, the next layer.

The plane entered the second layer of clouds and.. THUNK, hit the ground about 70 seconds later.

There was only one layer of clouds, and then a layer of pollution of epic proportions. As we taxied across the tarmac, buildings at the airport would fade in and out of view. There was about half a kilometer of visibility.

We langoliered our way into the airport and settled in for our 6 hour layover. The airport was entirely set up to sell duty-free goods. There were few restaurants, no such thing as a convenience store, and the employees in the duty free shops would come out and shill at the slightest eye contact. I suspect they worked partly on commission. Or fear.
Reasons I already hate China:

  • ALL the bill denominations have the same picture of Mao on them. Really, that’s the most creative thing you could do?
  • Shanghai is an air-polluted stenchhole
  • The airport is run on randomness and the clear need to get hard currency from foreigners.
  • The Internet is enslaved and there is no Google search, Facebook, etc..
  • The goddamned airport bar was closed for renovation!

It is an OUTRAGE!

On the positive side, you could buy Tsingtao beer from vending machines, so I became progressively happier.

Yvonne wandered off to look for books, and with about 40 minutes to boarding time I headed to the gate. Which was entirely shut down with nothing on the boards. This confused me, so I headed off and finally found an information booth which told me that the flight had been changed to another gate.

No mention over the intercom, and not one bit of information about the change at the actual gate. As I found Yvonne at the gate a bit later, we noticed a stream of people wandering from gate to gate, looking confused.

I talked to several of them, and they were all looking for different flights that had been changed without notification.

Gathering Yvonne up and going to our new gate, we were quickly informed (well, not told, of course we had to go up and ask and the delay was never announced or listed on the board) that the flight was late… pollution had destroyed visibility to the point that flights were being delayed.

The entire airport experience was beyond lame and if something like this ever happened at Incheon, the manager would likely be shamed into suicide.

We landed late, caught a shuttle bus to the hotel, and snatched a quick dinner at the enormous shopping mall attached to the hotel. The Harbour Plaza is a bit too far from Hong Kong island, but it’s rather brilliant on its own merits.


Anonymous said...

sounds like all of the last flights we have taken -- next time to Europe by boat!!
hope HK is more fun -- as I said before we loved it ??? years ago.
You in Hong Kong; Jen in Panama, David moving to Venzuela.
Old folks at home.

Charles Montgomery said...

LOL... all the other flights turned out ok.. on the last one home I even caught a nap...