HZ747300 From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2004, 2134 posts, RR: 0 Posted (10 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 7192 times:
For work, I went to Singapore, Hong Kong, and ZhuHai, China. The first leg of the trip was to Singapore, and I left on Valentine’s day, on QF5 to Singapore. The day before I had taken my girlfriend to the airport, she was going to the same meeting as me (we work for the same company) but was going up a day early to see a client of hers. For her check-in, the lady deduced that I was going the next day and let me pick my seat for the flight then.
I arrived a few hours early after only putting in a half day. Since most of the client facing organisation in Sydney was travelling to conference in Singapore and we are not all able to travel on the same flight, I would see a few of co-workers milling about waiting for the British Airways flight to Singapore leaving a little earlier than ours. One gentleman in particular was running like a mad fool to catch that flight after ‘last call’, it made me laugh.
While at the airport before departure, I snapped some photos of the planes on the ground:
I apologise for the reflections—soon boarding for QF5 had begun and I was onboard and found my seat rather quickly. This flight was very empty—thankfully. And I was right next to the galley, not that it mattered, but here are some shots for your amusement: during boarding, the galley, and out my window.
We were about 15-20 minutes late leaving because of passengers held up in the passport control queue leaving Australia. For those who don’t know, QF5 goes from SYD to SIN, and carries on to FRA. It also code shares as an Air France flight connecting to Air France mainline in SIN to travel onto Paris. Interestingly enough, the announcements were in German, English, and at the beginning of the flight also French. In the middle of the flight during turbulence they would only tell us to put our seatbelts on in German in English and stopped making French announcements all together.
I had the three seats all to myself and took full advantage of it. I sprawled out like a house cat in a sunbeam, and every now and then I would feel the staff reaching over me. I realized later that they were putting bottled water in my seat pocket and not rummaging through my pockets looking for loose change. The service on Qantas was excellent. Over Indonesia, we encountered a large thunderhead which made it impossible to try to pretend to sleep anymore but it was during the setting sun. I kept trying to get a shot of the thunderhead with lightning, but I couldn’t. My cat-like reflexes must have left me during the nap. Here are some pictures, and it is views like this which are why I love to fly:
Landing was without incident, straight in, no fancy loops. The conference in Singapore was informative and went without a hitch. Since my fiancée was there, we stayed the weekend and on Saturday she went to a dressmaker and picked out a wedding dress for our December wedding. Also, I found a store, Jason’s, that sells Dr. Pepper! It is impossible to find here in Australia, so I rewarded myself by buying out their inventory and putting it in my suitcase.
Here are my Singapore pictures if you are interested:
Sunday morning, I had to catch a flight to Hong Kong, to attend the exact same conference in ZhuHai, China a few days later, but this time I would be presenting. And my fiancée left to catch her flight back to Sydney. I was on Cathay Pacific, CX710, a 777-300. I specifically asked for this flight so that I would be able to make my way onto a 777-300, and I was assigned to seat 33K. For your reference, row 33 is not a window seat but you are on the side of the plane. I kept slipping my camera up a row to take some pictures, and I made it through most of the book I was reading, “How Great Generals Win”. Here are some pictures of the three hour flight to Hong Kong, including pulling into our gate:
After a few days in Hong Kong visiting some clients and working remotely from the office there, I caught the ferry to ZhuHai, China from the Macau Ferry Terminal. I actually became ill on the boat leaving Hong Kong, I didn’t vomit, but I was sure green and gassy. We arrived in about an hour, cleared China customs and caught the shuttle bus to the Grand Bay View Hotel. While this conference was going to be the same as the one I attended in Singapore, I was going to be assisting in the presentation in this one, so it would not be boring.
I was really busy, so I did not have time to explore as much as I would have liked. Suffice it to say, I did find the massage shop next to the hotel, as did everyone else at the conference, and for 30RMB each night I semi-enjoyed a back massage the first night (too rough), but thoroughly enjoyed a foot massage each of the next two nights. After a night of Karaoke and Drinking games until 3am, I had a 1pm ferry for the next day. We had an Oasis concert that night in Hong Kong!
When I arrived back in Hong Kong, I took a cab to my new hotel (I had stayed in the Excelsior the first time), the Ramada. I was upgraded to a Suite! Unlike the people working the rental car desks in Phoenix, these people knew what upgrading meant. It means that you get a higher level of service for the price which was first promised. So for HK$640 (720 w/taxes), I had the corner of the hotel on the 29th floor with fresh fruit delivered after check-in.
After my first stay in Hong Kong, and the three days in China, I was so sick of seafood and meals with a lazy Susan, I decided to venture out and find a Mickey-D’s, or Mackers as I have been taught since moving here to Australia. Oh it was good… I could feel my body being renewed as the grease-laden fries and Big Mac made their way to my belly. While at Mackers, I received a call stating we were meeting at 6pm at the IFC Airport Express Terminal for the concert. That gave me about an hour to get ready so I went back to the hotel.
We made our way to the AsiaExpo and watched Oasis rock out to their hits. To be honest, I only knew two songs for sure, “Champagne Supernova” and “Live Forever”. I think “Champagne Supernova” came out while I was at Arizona State, but I cannot remember for sure… Anyways, any expat who was somebody was at the concert, and Liam opened with, “Is anyone here from England?” and the crowd went haywire, to which he replied, “Why are you still here?”
Then they kept me out until 3am again Ugh, I had to wake up at 6am to catch the train to the airport. But it was a blast. We spent the post concert activities drinking at a bar in the expat district, then moved to a bar called Neptune II, probably called II because I was closed down due to STDs. That’s only a guess. It was quite a scene to watch, but hold on to your wallet.
We left for a kebab, and made our way to the sports bar, as the two other gentlemen still going with me were both English, and watched England lose to Scotland in the six nations rugby. I’m an American, so I agreed to cheer for England, especially since I did not fully understand the rules anyway. After the game, I could not punish myself anymore and made my back to the hotel, slept for two hours and caught a cab, to the train, to the airport. So I had this lovely hotel room, and I spent a whole three hours in it.
Here are my pictures from Hong Kong and ZhuHai (I did not know cameras were allowed at the concert, otherwise I would have delighted to take some myself):
I was exhausted. Dead, really. I was able to check-in at the train station, so really, I was just bored at the airport. But I was scared to sleep, because I knew if I did, I would sleep until tomorrow most likely. Finally, boarding was called and I rushed on board like a mad fool and snapped a boarding photo which was too blurry (as was I), a pic of a colourful Dragonair plane next to us in Hong Kong and some more pictures while landing in Singapore. I caught the A380, but it is hard to see. I only had my 3X camera handy, take a look:
This was CX717 back to Singapore another 773, it was much nicer than the CX710 773 which took me to Hong Kong. Also, I was in seat 31A, which was a legitimate window seat. Then I had a 6 – 7 hour layover in Singapore. I was going to clear customs and go back to Jason’s to see if they had re-stocked the Dr. Pepper, but honestly, I was too tired. So I opted for a foot and back massage at the airport, did a lot of browsing at the airport shops, and general exploring. I found a great bathroom near gate C4, clean and it did not smell of urine! Just a tip, if you are disgusted by the other bathrooms and you have spare time.
You could not believe excitement I had when I saw that flight to Sydney popup on the monitor, QF6. And it was on time too. About an hour before departure, I changed all my money to Aussie$ and made my way to the gate, this time I was in seat 50A. I took a picture during boarding:
And I belted above my blanket. This flight was very full. I slept most of the flight, but I would still wake up and find bottled water in the seat pocket. Again, full or empty, excellent service on Qantas for this trip. Announcements were in German and English only this time too, even with the Air France code share, also, I noticed that this flight code shared with Swiss too.
Landed, cleared customs, taxied home, showered and went to the office. I was given permission to leave about 4pm, a couple hours earlier than normal, and I decided to take them up on that.
All-in-all a good trip.
- Cathay’s service was pleasant, but I really did not have the need to experience it much. The load to Hong Kong was about 60% and the load from Hong Kong was probably 90%
- I booked the earlier flight from Hong Kong for two reasons, each segment (SYD-SIN r/t and SIN-HKG r/t) was booked separately. I knew they are both One World airlines, but I did not know if they would make check-in again in Singapore. Also, I wanted to make sure I flew on a 773, and booking it both ways would allow for one equipment change, obviously at the time I did not think I would have appreciated the extra sleep.
- While the service on Qantas was spot on, the food was not the best