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“Ladies and Gentlemen we are now pre-boarding for Air Canada flight 15 to Hong Kong”. Let the games begin. First off, the entire concept of pre-boarding is apparently lost on a large number of Chinese people leaving Toronto airport, as instead of the usual orderly pre-boarding you see on a hundred other flights, this was unmitigated chaos. If the attendants dared ask why the people were in the pre-boarding line, their English language ability suddenly disappeared, and they used their masterful blank stare to stay in a line they had no business being in.

Anyhow.....we got on the flight on time, thanks to my best friend Craig arriving in our driveway, in his chariot (aka a borrowed minivan to carry our 10,000 suitcases, most of which were not mine!). We had arrived at the airport in plenty of time, and made our way quickly to the Air Canada lounge to feed our poor starving children. As you can see by the happy smiles, things were off to a very good start. Emily ate about half a loaf of bread at the lounge, and Stephy enjoyed Frosted Flakes and apple juice, so Air Canada met our food needs. 

Back to the flight. Yeah, well, we had two bulkhead seats, then the row of three directly behind, because Danny’s mom joined us on the flight. Him and his mom took the bulkhead seats and I ended up sandwiched between the kids in the second row. Before we even got off the ground Emily announced she was tired and fell asleep. Cool, you say? Really great, you think? Not really. Fast, short, early nap and then no more sleep. That’s right, 15.5 hours of flight time and Emily did not sleep again, in spite of the fact that by the time we landed, it was 1am Toronto time.

Emily was really funny....when we got out of the airport, she declared “welcome back to Hong Kong”. It was priceless.

Stephy started out with more steam, and only napped briefly twice during the flight. By the last couple of hours, she was a RAT. Nasty, cranky behaviour. None of the food suited her. She didn’t want apple juice, until after the cart went past, and then she wanted apple juice IMMEDIATELY.

The meals were all kinds of Air Canada specialness. Mystery meat on rice. Mystery meat with noodles. Second meal, instant noodles in a cup, with a sandwich that was just plain meat on a bun. No mayo, lettuce, tomoato, nothing, just meat on a bun. The last meal was another shade of mystery meat on rice, and this time the other mystery came with different shaped pasta. Yeah, you get the drift....filled a gap but not much more than that. Stephanie ate about 15 different snack items that I’d brought with me, including countless packages of cheese and crackers. Emily ate at least 3 servings of the Air Canada chocolate brownie that came with the kids meals. Nope, I don’t care that that’s terrible parenting. So sue me. It kept her quiet and so it was fine.

Danny’s mother slept almost the entire flight, but the rest of us were unfortunately awake most of the time. By the time we landed, it was almost 2pm on Saturday December 5th, and by that time, the only good news was that the flight was over, and it was 25 degrees and sunny outside. Oh yeah, I had to throw that out there for you!!! 25 degrees. Did I mention sunshine? Yeah, lots of sunshine. There is a god. She has a sense of fairness. She gave me sunshine and warmth as a reward for surviving the flight.

Due to H1N1, we had to complete health questionnaires, and pass through a temperature screening point, but none of us had an issue, so that was fine. 

From prior trips, we have a first-day plan. Danny’s mother left at the airport with her sister that she’s staying with, and so we hopped on the airport express train into downtown Hong Kong. The ride was inexpensive, clean and quick, so it wasn’t too bad. Emily fell asleep on the train, but woke up ok when we got to the station.
A short taxi ride got us to our usual hotel and after about 15mins of waiting for our room to be ready, we started to get organized. Emily and I made a trip to the grocery store for bottled water, coffee, beer, noodles, etc., and Danny and Stephy stayed back. 

Danny ran our 15hours in a plane, gross smelling clothes over to the laundry, and while he was out, I made use of the online food ordering site I found last visit. Shortly afterwards, a cheese pizza arrived for the girls per their request, and some Vietnamese noodle soup for Danny and I.

It was funny, because the girls were all about wanting pizza, and it came really quickly. Even still, the day had caught up with us by then. Stephanie ate about half a slice, then fell over, face first, asleep on the chair. Emily did somewhat better, eating one and a half slices, before her face hit the couch. Danny carried them upstairs in the suite to the bedroom. 
I think I was only awake about 15 mins after they collapsed, then exhaustion got me too, and Danny was not far behind.

A note about H1N1 and what we’re seeing. In our hotel, every door has floor mates with special notes that say “sanitize every hour”, and even in the elevators, they have a plastic sheet covering all the buttons, and it is changed every hour too. 

We survived the flight. We’re in Hong Kong and it’s warm and sunny. It’s gonna take a few days to get rid of the unwanted visitor, jetlag, but we’re happy to have got here.