Sunday, November 18, 2012

Here to there and back again

After our short break in Seoul, we had 4 nights at home in Hong Kong before I set off for Scotland and Les went to New York. I had a fantastic journey, including an upgrade to First Class, with a wee private cabin and champagne all the way.I know you don't get there any faster, but boy does the time fly past quicker! And sleep? Well yes, with my matress, duvet and full size pillow, plus all 3 windows shuttered and my cabin door closed,yes, I did, for about 4 hours.
I had a whirlwind week of meeting family and friends, including 24 hours in Bristol (via Squeezyjet, no champagne this time!Well, not until arrival chez Wheeler, where we did in a bottle before bedtime). All my travel plans worked out well, thanks to my fabulous friends and family who picked me up, dropped me off and ran me hither and thon, thus obviating the need for a hire car his trip. I'm still smarting from the CDW slap on, because I didn't take the extra insurance last trip when some sneaky pig ran into me and drove off without leaving details.
Meantime, across the pond, Les was also lucky with upgrades from business to first ( mind you he had to use air miles, mine was free!) but less lucky with the weather; he arrived just in time for Hurricane Sandy, so spent 3 days holed up in his hotel room with pillows along the window! Anyway, we both made it to Dubai and met up in the lounge just nearby the champagne bar, as you do.
Since coming home, we have hosted some wonderful Australian friends. We first met 6 years ago  and it was lovely to catch up and show them our adopted city. They were great fun and it was sad to see them go on Sunday. On Monday morning, I had another sad farewell, Katrina announced she was leaving HK for 24 hours! So now 3 of my original friends have gone; Sue, Pat and Katrina. But, welcome to Kate, so plus ca change, plus c'est la meme, as they say.
I went up to China to see my tailor (God, how pretentious does that sound!) on Friday and arranged to have 2 winter dresses made for my trip back home in December. Then Les and I were staying over in Shenzhen as we were attending the company family fun day on Saturday. Fun? Well, it depends on how you classify fun...we were collected at 7.30am and finally got into the theme park at 11.30...straight to lunch, so no time to actually see anything. Which was just as well, since, being November, half the rides were closed. Lunch was ...well, different. For a table of 8, we had: a giant bowl of clear soup with tomato halves and scrambled egg floating in it, a washing up bowl of boiled rice, half a chicken, head bones and all, a whole fish (have you ever tried to divide a fish into eight using only chopsticks?), 2 plates of differently flavoured tofu , a dish of cabbage and one of turnip cubes. Plenty of food, for sure, but quantity certainly over ruled quality.
After lunch, we wandered about aimlessly for an hour, feeling like filmstars as many people wanted to have their photo taken with us,  since we were the only Western people among several thousand Chinese. I tell you,a good few of them will know us again, going by the close scrutiny they made of our faces.
Next up, an hour queuing for a cable car, the only means of getting to the next part of the park. If I'd had a sharp stick, it would have been a relief to poke it into my eye. Eventually, we reached the summit, eyes closed, not looking down...then we were told we had to descend three flights of stairs to get to the bus stop.After the first two flights, my legs were jelly and my knees were watermelons, then we saw an encouraging sign; only 135 steps to go !Yeah!
Next up, a bus, then a train to get to the venue for a cultural show. Wow! It was spectacular! Chinese acrobats, ballet dancers, sound, music,copious use of holographic technology, what a show. I loved it. At 5pm it finished and Les colleague kindly drove us to the border crossing, finally arriving home at 8pm.