Dennis Wright's Blog

15 April 2007: Night flight to Hong Kong

Posted in Far East Cruise 2007, Hong Kong, Video by Dennis Wright on April 22, 2007

Our first hop, from Manchester to Paris Charles de Gaulle, was on a little Air France Airbus 318 but we had acres of room. Three seats between two of us and an exit row, so tons of leg room. Naomi joked that she wished we could make the pilot fly straight through to Hong Kong.


We knew what was coming. A surprisingly bumpy landing at CDG, at around 10.15pm French time. A real right pain finding your way around the airport – it is shaped like a string of beads and we needed a shuttle bus to get us to the right section for the long haul part of the journey, then through security all over again. I hate CDG. Naomi helped an elderly lady from Hong Kong with her bags up the escalators.


The flight to HK itself was a nightmare at eleven hours 40 mins departing around midnight, but not before we had been sat on the tarmac for around half an hour. It was an overnight flight so the lights were kept low and most people tried to sleep. Especially good at that was Miss Ping in the aisle seat. She dropped off immediately. I was in the middle seat and Naomi by the window did not settle at all. We couldn’t sleep, kept wanting to stretch our legs, get a drink from the “bar” at the back of the plane, etc and kept disturbing Miss Ping. In the end we gave her the window seat.


At least the food was good. Bon Appetit from the Chief Rabbinate of France. No chance of settling down to watch the film or read a book.


There was a Chinese man on board with a ponytail and a sleeveless top showing off his tattoos. In the morning, shortly before we landed, he went through his exercises with such practiced ferocity he could have been a prizefighter. He came across as someone who might frequent shady bars in the old port of Shanghai and get into brawls every other night. I told Naomi he was on his way to Hong Kong to collect the rest of his cash for a hit job in Paris, but he was probably nothing shadier than a rep for a vacuum cleaner company who had been to Europe to visit his ailing aunt.


Hong Kong Airport sets the tone for the whole area – hi-tech, spacious, airy, ultra modern, glass, marble and steel. Free wifi and the chance to email our comms agent in Berlin. Bags retrieved, we took the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) to Kowloon station. The train is ultra modern, like a design template for the London Heathrow Express, but with a natty visual display to show you your progress between stops. It is quite a long journey as the airport is out on the west side of Lantau island – you have to cross to the east side then over to Kowloon.


Kowloon station is massive, multi-levelled and glass/marble. In the middle of wheeling luggage around I get a call from R Portnoy enquiring about arrangements for our anniversary Kiddush in June. He knew where I was and apologised in case he created roaming charges.


All HK taxis are retro style Toyotas in red with silver roofs. Our hotel was the Salisbury, in Tsim Sha Tsui – the southern tip of Kowloon, looking out on Hong Kong island. The hotel is run by the YMCA and is one of three ideally located high rise hotels on the waterfront. We were next door to the prestigious Peninsula Hotel, but paying a fraction of the price for a perfectly clean and comfortable 14th floor room.



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