I’ll only be here for 20 hours, but this is the first step, in a long journey home
Wake up time
For the first time in a long time, I’m not in a hurry. I can get up at whatever time I like. I need to be at the airport by noon or so, but that is the only time constraint that I have.
So, I got up early, and had a nice breakfast in the Executive lounge
Travel to airport
Travel to the airport was in an SUV, which was sized properly to fit Chris, Isabella and I, along with our luggage. The driver was about 20 minutes late, but I later learned that it was not his fault, and he worked very hard to make up the time along the road. So, we arrived at the airport at 11:45.
Packing and wrapping
When I arrived at the ticket counter, I had 2 bags, a backpack, and a tube, which protected the artwork. I was flying Coach class, and I was told that I could not ship both pieces of luggage, as well as the PVC tube, without incurring extra expense.
So, I walked over to one of the “luggage packing” stations, and had them wrap both of my pieces of luggage together, which left me with 1 piece of luggage, and the PVC tube. This new combination of luggage seemed to satisfy the airline, so I submitted all my luggage for screening, grabbed my ticket, and said my good-byes to Chris and Isabella, who would be leaving on a flight which left about 2 hours later than mine did.
The battery incident
Having checked my luggage, and entered the Immigration area, ultimately processing for departure, and then making my way to the boarding gate, I figured I was in the clear, and it was just a matter of time until I arrived in Hong Kong, but I was mistaken.
I heard an announcement that said that I should come up to the ticket counter to talk to the gate agent. When I arrived, she quickly asked me if I might have left a battery in my luggage, and I said that it was likely that I had.
I was told to sit down and wait, and prior to boarding, I would need to get the battery out of my luggage. Well, it didn’t take long for the van to arrive with my luggage inside. I took a razor blade, cut through the plastic wrap that held the two bags together, and removed the battery. After putting everything back together, I handed the bag back to the luggage people, and went back inside, to wait at the gate for a few more minutes.
Travel to Hong Kong
I boarded the plan, and in just 3 hours, I was in Hong Kong. The time of my arrival was about 7:00 PM.
I exchanged all of my remaining Thai money, and also some Chinese Juan and Euros that I had laying around, and was now ready for the trip back to the US. But, my flight to DFW did not leave for another 18 hours, so I would need to make my way to the Marriott hotel on the premises, and spend the night.
It’s a long story, but my original reservation was cancelled by mistake, and I had to make another reservation, at the same hotel, for about $60/USD more per night. I was not happy about this, so when I got to the reception desk, I asked to speak to a manager, and Marco appeared, and was ready to talk to me.
After filling Marco in on the details, he apologized for the mistakes, and offered me late checkout, and an upgrade to a mini-suite, and also access to the Executive lounge. At this point, I was thinking of Marco as my savior, but he was just a good manager, who wanted to make a long-time customer happy.
I put my luggage in my room, and made my way down to the Executive lounge, where I had a soft drink, and some light snacks. Hong Kong is growing like crazy, so I was able to look out at the city, and see all of the construction activity near the city center, as well as at the airport itself.
What does tomorrow bring
Tomorrow, at 3:00 PM, I’ll board a flight to DFW, which will last almost 15 hours. When I arrive, I’ll need to sit for 4 hours, and then board another plane for Charlotte. But, if the flight arrives in Dallas early, I’ll try to get an earlier flight out of DFW, hopefully arriving in Charlotte early as well.