Up Up and Away
Let me first apologise to all who are reading this expecting a diary. Many years ago I worked for Qantas and part of my job was to critique hotels and tours - it is a hard habit to break.
Travelers tip #1: if you have tons of bags and need a trolley when departing at Sydney airport, DO NOT pay $4 at the machine beside the road. Send one of your party inside the terminal to the end of the check in counter or just beside the customs entrance - there are tons of free trolleys waiting around to be collected. Do not leave your luggage alone outside or they will shut down the airport and send the robots to blow up your bags.
Tip #2: when checking in, request the seats beside the doors and mention that you are a former Qantas* staff member. Seats B, C, I and J will give you tons of legroom which is particularly nice on the long haul flights. However seats A and K give you no extra legroom as the bulk of the door gets in the way with the added disadvantage of having no window.
*(It has been 16 years since I left Qantas but the privileges keep on coming.)
The flight itself was rather uneventful and with the individual entertainment screens, the time didn't seem to drag as it did the last time I flew to England. The choice of movies was rubbish but the TV programs were okay. The food, as you would expect was incredibly average.
Tip #3: bring Jatz biscuits and fruit with you on the flight - at least you won't starve.
We arrived in Hong Kong at 5.45pm and the temperature was 30oC and sticky. We finally located the transfer company and the guy asked us to wait - the bus would be leaving in 15 minutes and he would come and get us. He forgot us. He finally fetched us an hour later and so it was past 8pm (10pm body time) by the time we got to the hotel.
Tip #4: get the Airport Express train - it takes 24 mins to reach the city centre.
I last visited Hong Kong 20 years ago and it seems to have doubled in size - upwards. The streets are a lot cleaner than I remember and the shops on the main strip are far more upmarket - apart from the 220 McCrap outlets defiling the city.
The BOSS decided that food was more important than sleep so we immediately set forth to explore the "Jordan" district. We skipped the main road with the restaurants charging HK$268 for 'traditional' Chinese food and stumbled upon a street cafe serving fantastic wontons for HK$28. We were seated at the table on the footpath, which enabled the waitress and other passers-by to be highly amused by our less than competent attempts to eat metre long noodles with chopsticks. In between her fits of giggles, the waitress handed us a roll of toilet paper with which to mop up our soup strewn faces and hands.
After leaving our tip and most of our dignity at the table, we wandered up through the night markets checking out the stalls of cheap junk and touristy souvenirs. Altogether unimpressed by their offerings, we managed to run the gauntlet and escape the hawkers wares... including those offering the BOSS "personal pleasure devices".