Not for the faint hearted

Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Thursday, May 4, 2006

Our final day in Hong Kong was devoted to shopping. Our first (and only) mistake of the day was not realising that the shops don't open till at least 11am and in most cases 1pm. The Mong Kok district is the place for bargains but it is no place for the faint hearted. There are three streets about 1km long each. One is for the electronics bargains, another for sporting goods but the main stretch is the "Ladies Market". 100's of stalls selling clothes, watches, fake handbags, sunglasses and tons of other bric-a-brac. The BOSS did most of the spending and became an expert at bargaining very quickly. Our haul included $4 t-shirts, a laptop bag, a $5 watch and fake Rayban sunnies.
Tip #6: unlike Bangkok there are very few fake DVD's for sale. The only place we found was downstairs in the Sino shopping centre on Nathan Rd.
Exhausted and footsore we returned to the hotel for a final shower before our 13 hour flight to London. We still had 6 hours to wait after checking out but the BOSS just could not walk another step so we got the early transfer to the airport and crashed in the lounge.

We spent our last few hours wandering around the airport trying to pick up an internet hotspot which the laptop could access. We were told in Australia that all Starbucks and all McCrap* places have wireless internet and all you need to do is buy a coffee or a burger and you can get online. This is NOT TRUE. Starbucks and every other hotspot we found were passworded and you need to sign into a local carrier and pass over your credit card details. Not once did I see an internet cafe as we know them in Australia (ie. rows and rows of computers and $2 an hour to get online).
* I can't tell what the deal is with McCrap, as we have been conscientious objectors for 10+ years now and refuse to give them one cent. We quite happily use their facilities and have no qualms about "borrowing" some of their internet bandwidth but I'd rather go without online access than pay for a burger. (We will see if my resolve holds for 4 months) If, as everyone says, their internet is totally free then I should be able to sit within 20m of McCrap's and get a signal. This proved to be untrue in both Hong Kong and Canterbury.

We checked in for our 13 hour flight to London around 9pm, but were not so lucky with the seating this time. I didn't know that British Airways has an online check-in system and that you can choose your own seat and print your own boarding pass 48 hours before your flight. So, of course, all the good seats were taken. The BOSS insisted on a window seat, leaving me with a middle seat and as the plane was completely full we would have someone in the aisle seat that we would have to climb over every time we wanted to go to the loo. As we boarded the plane there was a large man in front of us (best described as a teddy bear) and I was hoping that he was not going to be our aisle partner. He seated himself in the row behind ours and a sigh of relief escape my lips. However a few minutes later when other passengers arrived, it was discovered that he was in the wrong row and he was indeed our row buddy. He squeezed himself into his seat and not only did his arm completely cover my TV controls on the armrest, his knees hit the seat in front and quite a bit of his bulk spilled over into "my space". He was not fat - just tall and solid and I felt quite sorry for him. As much as my flight was going to be uncomfortable accommodating his bulk - his flight was going to be much much worse. If anyone deserved a bulkhead seat or an upgrade to business class, it was him.

Our flight took off at midnight and they served us a roast dinner at 1am. I instantly fell asleep and woke up with a stiff neck, feeling like I had dozed for about an hour. It took quite some convincing before I believed that I had actually got 6 hours sleep. The BOSS managed to squeeze in about 3 hours sleep right at the end of the flight.

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