Monday, December 8
We’re HERE!!! Yes, it’s Monday, and we are in Hong Kong!
Back track to yesterday (or the day-from-hell as you’ve heard me call it). My co-worker Craig was kind enough to get up and out on a snowy Sunday morning and drive us to the airport. The kids were excited and thoroughly wound up, and I was already thinking ahead to about 12 hours into the flight when at least one of us was bound to be in tears.
Luckily, although it was snowing like a blizzard at home, the airport in Toronto was clear and dry, so the flight was not delayed. We did need to de-ice, though, so that added about 35 minutes to our “stuck-in-a-tin-box-for-too-many-freakin’-hours” day. We chose bulk head seats so we had quite a lot of leg room and we soon settled in for the long haul.
For those of you that don’t know, the flight itself is 15.5 hours in the air. Oh yes, a fully packed flight, with two small kids, and 15.5 hours in the air. Add the “parents with small kids board first” time and you’re looking at 17 solid hours in the plane.
Wait for it…..
It wasn’t too bad. Really. No, I’m not joking or medicated or just outright lying. It really wasn’t too bad. Not good mind you, because it was still Air Canada, and it was still 17 hours in a plane, but overall not too bad.
Small details—neither kid slept until very late in the flight. Stephy gave in first, about 10 hours in, and I successfully laid her down on the floor in front of me, so she slept a few hours there. Emily held out and only fell asleep about 12 hours into the flight, missed the last meal, and had to be woken up to get her seatbelt on. For those of you who don’t know Emily being woken up…..not good at all.
Oh yeah, and the lady sitting next to Stephy and I puked all over herself about 8 hours into the flight. That was special.
All in all, though, the air hosts were really nice (as they usually are on the long haul flights) and the food was edible. The kids watched their PVRs for much of the time, Danny spent hours working, and my iPod saved the day for me.
Just towards the end of the flight both PVRs were battery-drained, and the kids had eaten all the snacks they could tolerate, but it was ok.
(Note to anyone traveling many hours with small kids. Snacks are your friend. I brought each of the girls a large Ziploc bag full of stuff like rice krispy squares, raisins, cheese and crackers, cashew nuts, and gum. They saved the day when the kids either didn’t like or slept through a meal. And, there is the added bonus that cheese and crackers, the little one with a spreading stick, takes TIME. Yes, entertained them for quite a while with that!)
The kids were ecstatic (and I was beyond relief) to get off the plane, where Danny’s cousin Pok Hei was, as he always is, waiting for us at the arrivals gate. We took the airport express train into the city, then hopped into a cab for the 2 minute ride to the hotel. Same hotel that we always stay in, though I booked a penthouse level duplex suite. It’s huge by Hong Kong standards and is really quite nice, so that was a good choice. We have two TVs and two washrooms, and there is even a bathtub, unlike the regular rooms that only have shower stalls.
As soon as we checked in Danny and the girls relaxed while I headed out to buy a few grocery items. Bottled water is a must (as is instant coffee and cereal, for my benefit). Got the other super healthy things my kids love, such as chocolate chip cookies, green onion crackers, and chocolate milk. (And yes, before you lecture me, I know that there have been milk issues in Hong Kong.)
For a quick dinner, we walked over to a tiny restaurant around the corner from the hotel. The menu was pretty basic, but sounded good, the only trouble was that we were concerned about our tummies. We lived dangerously and used their chopsticks and plastic cups. We ordered four different dishes from the menu (keeping in mind it was about 6:15pm, prime dinner time) and of the four things we ordered they actually had NONE! They negotiated and decided they’d “wing it” for us. Emily ended up with sliced spam, fried egg and rice after ordering sausage, egg and rice. I got a strangely deep fried piece of chicken (??) on rice in a bland sauce after ordering curry chicken, while Danny ordered beef curry and got a strangely bland mix of stir fried veggies and some-kinda-meat on rice. Stephy ordered minced beef and veggies on rice and hers most closely resembled what she ordered. The only surprise was……wait for it:
They cracked a raw egg over the top of it on the plate and served it like that. Now, don’t get me wrong, a raw egg over a rice dish isn’t that unusual here in Hong Kong, but all I could think of was all of you wondering if I’ve lost my mind because in addition to milk issues there has been considerable controversy over the safety of eggs here, and I let her eat a RAW egg.
We ate quickly, and we must have been tired and hungry because the food didn’t taste too bad, then we were back to the hotel. Bed called to all of us very early and we crashed by 7:30pm.
Morning (sort of morning) arrived entirely too soon, so I’m breaking into tomorrow’s post to tell you that we were all wide awake at 1:00am. I’m writing this at 2:25am on Tuesday, December 9th here in Hong Kong.
Oh, and it was 22 degrees and sunny when we arrived. There is a god and she felt sorry for us after that flight!!