Friday, 23 October 2009

Adventures without sleep

I'm writing to you from the transit lounge of Hong Kong Intl airport. I've got a lot of time for Hong Kong airport, which is lucky because I have to spend so much time here. I'm in the middle of my longest-ever flight - "longest-ever" purely because my stop-off is 8 hours long. Maybe it doesn't even count as one flight. But it does for me becuase I can't be bothered to leave the airport - maybe I should, but it's always a lot of hassle to leave/enter airports, especially ones you don't have a visa for.

So to recap - I got 6 hours sleep on Tuesday night, then 3 hours sleep on Wednesday night, before leaving Heathrow at 12noon on Thursday and arriving 12 hours later here at 7:00am in Hong Kong. Yes - 12 + 12 = 7. Bizarre. Thankfully though, when you fly with the world, the night is very short (unlike the 12-hour flight I made the other way to LDN last month, completely in the dark). This afternoon, I have do it all over again - a 12-hour flight departing at 3:00pm arrives in Auckland at 7:00am - and yet somehow I'm feeling roughly okay. I'm still feeling pretty rough though as well.

Back to HKG. It's hard to compare it to Heathrow when I've never come in or gone out of Hong Kong, but the transit and depature gates area is quite nice - a looooong central channel, splitting into 2 at both ends, with all the gates next to each other, together. There's racks and racks and racks of seats so you'll never be made to stand, and there's FREE WI-FI, confirming it as a proper airport (I'm looking at you Auckland!). Heathrow has free wi-fi, but then again Heathrow a horrible mess of grey on the outside and a horrible mess of shops, crap and confusing layout on the inside. And I didn't even have to go via Terminal 5 - a lady next to me flying all the way from Newcastle to Sydney is probably 16,000 miles away from her luggage right now. (I've just noticed the Wikipedia article for Terminal 5 has no reference whatsoever to the debacle of its opening in 2008 where several hundred thousand items of luggage were delayed by months or have never been receovered.)

So, in terms of my favourite airports, or maybe make that leastunfavourite (a new word I declare!), Hong Kong is up there with Wellington's charming and practical small airport and Rarotonga's wonderful "is this really an airport?" collection of palm trees and outdoor benches.

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