Monday, January 3, 2011

Anchored down in Anchorage … happy in Hong Kong

You’d think that taking “No Jet Lag” plus flying to Hong Kong, where I don’t get jet lag, would mean I don’t have jet lag. And you’re right. However, arriving at a hotel at midnight with a first meeting at 8:45 AM means I’m going to be yawning all day not matter what time zone I’m in. And I’m awake before my alarm because I’m so excited to be here.

Unlike last time I flew to Hong Kong, I had enough to entertain me.

  • 15 movies
  • Three books (two novels, one nonfiction)
  • Sudoku
  • Knitting
  • Laptop
  • iPhone stocked with games (but I am still Freecell free!), Hebrew flash cards, and the Tanakh.
I had enough food for two days.

I even slept a little, on purpose, early in the flight when it was technically the middle of the night in Hong Kong.

But then we heard moaning, which sounded like someone having sex, and the attendants kept asking if there were any doctors on this full 747, and then nurses, and then EMTs, and no one spoke up (I thought about offering to help – I’ve seen a doctor – they seemed desperate), and then the captain said we’re landing in Anchorage to take a sick passenger off the plane.

They did a good job in Anchorage, setting and meeting the expectation that we would be there for under an hour, but the detour added three hours to the 15-hour flight (with 10 of those hours after Anchorage). Shockingly, when I checked my email when I arrived here, I received a letter of apology from a named person in customer service referring to this specific incident.

Halfway through that second leg of the flight, jaw and neck started spasming, my right hip started spasming. I watched the wonderful “About a Boy,” and halfway through “The 25th Hour” (how aptly named) my laptop battery died. I switched to watching the airplane movies and saw (can’t remember name; will insert later) and then started playing Plants vs. Aliens on the iPhone, which I could do standing up to keep my legs stretched ... until that battery died, too.

Despite Hong Kong’s efficiency, I had to wait a half hour for my bag as they trickled onto the conveyor belt. Labor is so cheap here that customer service is excellent, but I kept thinking that they just had a lot of cheap labor carrying each bag one by one from the plane.

And then I ran into a student, and things turned around. An extrovert, my energy picked up. It was his first time to HK, so I showed him the ropes of ATM, Octopus Card, and train to central. I watched him become awed by the train; he helped me with my bleary eyes see that the taxi stand to the hotel was right in front of me. The warm, balmy air of midnight smelled like a nice urban vacation.

The hotel is great. I might change my mind and stay here the whole trip. The room is huge for HK standards (or for any major city). I have a bathtub, which is unusual in dense city. Everything seems brand new. I was so excited I couldn’t get into bed.

And then I cracked up. I’m observant, sure, but it had hit my blind spot. In this room that I think is so beautiful, all the accents are fuchsia. The soap is fuchsia. The water glasses have little flower petals floating within the edges. The shower curtain is bright pink. The hangers are pink. The phone is a set of big red plastic lips! They put me on the “SHE” floor! Targeted and limited to women travelers. (I think many a guy would have commented immediately on the feminine touches and said, “huh?”) I love it – I’d wanted one of these newly-renovated rooms, but I didn’t want to pay the higher room rate. I bet they don’t have fresh flowers on the “THEY” floor.

The sun is not yet up, and I’m awake before my alarm. No jet lag. I’m glad I’m near the source of the world's tea – this is going to be a heavy tea drinking day.

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