Friday, November 24



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November 24

Well, the end of a vacation is always tough, but when you have to finish things off with a fifteen-hour flight home, itís very, very tough.

Friday started out pleasantly enough. We had done all our packing on Thursday night so we woke up in a leisurely way and had a slow, easy breakfast in our room. The girls were high-strung, probably sensing what a stressful day we had ahead of us.

We had pre-arranged to have a van pick us up at the hotel to take us to the airport. Check out the photo; it was metallic mauve. Never seen that before, not in a hurry to see it again! The driver was on time, though, and courteous, so it was all good.

We headed out to the airport nice and early. First, because you need to be early for an international flight, but mostly because all of Dannyís relatives intended to meet us at the airport. Iím still not clear what they were all doing there, given that we got together Thursday night, but there you have it.

There was a huge entourage for us at the airport. All of Dannyís aunts, his uncle, and several cousins, including one from Singapore, were there. It was very festive. In spite of the realization that this could be a final good bye, it was happy rather than tearful for the elders in the group.

Hong Kong airport was easy going, except for the line-ups to get through Hong Kong immigration. Of course there were forms to fill out and filling them out while managing two kids isnít easy, but I got them done. The girls enjoyed the security screening, because they wanted the guard to use the wand to check them. They didnít require the wand, because neither set off the alarm, but the guard did it for them anyway, so they were happy.

When we got through all the required steps we still had some time to pass so we headed into the first class lounge. One of the benefits of all the travel Danny and I have done for work is that we are both Air Canada Elite and we can use the first class lounge in all the major airports that service Air Canada and their Star Alliance Partners. We used the one for Thai Airways and had a great lunch before setting off. Even though they had lots of hot food, my girls were excited because they had cheese sandwiches on white bread for them. In fact, they both ate several, and we took a couple to go. We didnít have a lot of time before they were calling our flight for boarding.

By this point, my anxiety was high. After the flight to Hong Kong, I knew full well what was in store. Even at that I underestimated it. We got seated, and the flight started uneventfully. About three hours into the flight, Emily was tired, so she climbed up onto my lap and fell asleep. She was still coughing, though, having kept her cough throughout our vacation. I put it down to poor air quality and too much excitement. Well, she got to coughing, and couldnít stop. Iím sure some of you could guess what came nextÖ.yup, she puked all over herself, me, the seat, her shoes, her clothes, etc. What a mess that was. Unfortunately for Danny, thatís one of the messes I simply canít clean up, I just donít have the stomach for it, so he had to do it all. We stripped her shirt, socks, shoes, etc., off and cleaned the seat as much as we could. The stench in the plane was really unpleasant for a bit, but I think people could see we were a family on the edge, so they didnít raise much fuss.

The rest of the flight was easy by comparison, if you donít count the fact that the one seat smelled really strongly of vomit and Danny had to line it with layers of blankets and sit on it!

We got through the fifteen hours and landed in Toronto on time. We got through Customs and Immigration quickly and were happy to see our friend Craig waiting for us in the waiting area. What a sight for sore eyes he was after all that travel.

We all piled into our own van, and came home. The girls were happy to be home, and Stephanie was surprised to find that the big-girl-bed-fairy had paid her a visit during our vacation, so she came home to a new bed and her crib was gone. Sheís very excited and tells everyone about her big bed.

Weíre still struggling with jetlag, so the weekend hasnít been terribly easy, but the trip was rewarding enough to still feel as though it was worthwhile. It was a tough trip, admittedly our toughest so far. Traveling halfway around the world with two young kids, staying in dubious hotels in small towns, and spending so much time in planes, trains and automobiles isnít easy. It was, however, worth every minute to see our girls returning to China and visiting with family elders in Hong Kong.

The flight was bad, but weíre already talking about when our next trip to Hong Kong and China will be, so it canít have been that bad, eh?

Thanks for living vicariously through us, and joining us on our vacation. It was a pleasure sharing it with you. Until next timeÖ.