[…continued from yesterday…]
I spent four hours wandering around Hong Kong airport. Fortunately it’s very big with lots of bright, friendly shops. I was too full to eat and didn’t want to buy anything so wandering was all I did. Then the shops started to close and the milling hordes gradually dispersed. For the final hour of waiting I snoozed, along with my fellow passengers, at gate 19 until we, finally, boarded.
The plane was full of mostly Chinese and Australian passengers. Still, Premium Economy meant I was comfortable and I managed to sleep for about seven hours although fitfully. During supper I watched two episodes of Miranda (coincidentally, so did Mirinda on her flight from Singapore but two different episodes) before going to sleep.
After waking up, I watched the instantly forgettable The Last Stand with Arnie Schwarzenegger. I do wonder how he can make films while serving as the governor of California. I do not recommend this film to anyone.
The guy in the window seat next to me (an Australian) barely moved for the entire flight. He was probably about 70, didn’t watch anything on the in-flight entertainment, didn’t read, didn’t listen to anything. I think he slept. He only went to the loo twice – I know because I had to get out of my seat for him.
There was another guy near me who wore a paper face mask over his mouth, an eye mask over his eyes, earplugs in his ears, courtesy slippers and a blanket over his lower body for the entire journey. He looked like a mental patient in some dystopian future. He looked younger than me and a bit sad.
We arrived in London half an hour earlier than our delay allowed us. One of the numerous great things about Premium Economy is that you get off the plane before the cattle class victims. Given you have to wait for your luggage anyway, this works out perfectly. It also means there’s less of a crush at customs. I used the electronic gates anyway, where there’s never a crush.
Spare a thought for the poor transferring passengers who all took off like rockets, trying to make their flights.
I visited four airports in around 24 hours and I have to say that Heathrow was the worst. Everywhere else, service staff of all kinds were helpful, happy and smiling. I immediately knew I was back in Britain. The shop staff in Hong Kong were particularly courteous even when ushering you out of their shops because they were closing. Their apologies were meant, for a start.
The computers were down at the Central Bus Station. This meant that the indicator boards were blank and none of the ticket machines were working. I asked a chap behind a desk where I was supposed to get a ticket, knowing that you had to get a ticket before travelling. He was very adamant in insisting that the driver had to sell me one and that I was not to take ‘no’ for an answer. He was quite forceful, insisting I could get a ticket from the driver as long as I had cash.
I had no problem buying a ticket from the driver. I had the correct money but felt a bit sorry for the old chap (at least 115) in front of me who tried to buy a ticket with an out of date coin. I ended up giving the driver the 50p the old chap needed. I’m fairly certain he has no idea that I paid it. I wasn’t being particularly generous or charitable…I just wanted to get home before the week was out.
Behind me on the coach was a young lad talking on his phone. He said that 25% of the reason he went to Australia was to experience a long-haul flight. I felt like telling him the novelty very quickly wore off.
I eventually reached home (engineering work between Aldershot and Alton delayed me a bit) to a rather wild garden. A month of sun and rain and no attention had turned it into a jungle. But, before I could tackle the impossible, I had to go shopping. Besides I wanted to leave it till Mirinda saw it.
I visited Starbucks and Waitrose then returned home to wait for Mirinda to arrive. Her flight landed at around 3:30pm and the taxi dropped her off about 5ish. Her eyes widened in surprise at the garden. I then attacked the grass with the mower.
We both eventually crashed at 9:30 having only had Vegemite and toast for dinner.