A day of ups and downs.
This morning started with a low when Bill’s alarm went off at 04.45 a quarter of an hour early! We hadn’t had a very good night because we both kept dreaming we’d overslept and missed our flight but after showering and getting sorted out we realised today we were going to tick off an item on our bucket list. Today we were flying to Hong Kong on the second flight of our adventure. It was due to leave at 7.10 our time and left right on time. After a bit of sleep we landed at 11.05 – again on time. It was a bit cloudy as we landed but nothing was going to spoil our day – or so we thought.
Bill had always wanted to come to Hong Kong and here he is there. Amazing airport, very efficient. We made our way through to immigration without any problems and as soon as we reached the luggage carousel Bill’s bag was already there but not mine. I was thinking Oh no I’ll have nothing to wear but then more bags came through and there it was, that was a relief. As we entered the arrival hall there was my favourite – Starbucks, coffee time!
Bill decided to go and raid the ATM for some money. Oh dear the first two wouldn’t give him any. Luckily third time lucky. All on his own without my assistance, was this wise? We’ll see…..
The next job was get from the airport to the city. That was made very easy by buying an Airport Express travel pass which allowed us unlimited travel for three days plus a return journey from and to the airport. On the train into the city all was going very well.
The first stop in the city was the China Travel service where we intended to apply for our Chinese visas. I have spent the last few months pawing through my Lonely planet China and had memorised a lot of stuff one of which was the route to the CTS office and we found it first go. I had everything ready, a form for each of us downloaded and filled in, a passport photo for each of us, a typed out itinerary and finally had printed all the hotel bookings, train tickets, flight tickets etc and had it all sitting in a wallet ready. I handed it all over with our passports which she started to shake. ‘Where is his entry visa?’ she was shaking Bill’s passport. She shook mine and out fell a piece of paper but where was Bill’s. We went through the bag, his pockets, every where, NOTHING. Then she said she couldn’t process our application without it. DISASTER. His passport had been in his pocket with his wallet and we realised that while getting cross with the ATM machines it must have dropped out. The lady said our option was to go to immigration downtown to try to get another one or take a daytrip to Macau and get one on our way back, which would be too late for our visa for China!!!
We both hit a real low. At this point we still had all our bags with us so we continued on to our hotel to check in. It turned out the hotel had a free shuttle bus that could drop us right next to the Immigration tower, someone was watching over us after all. We dropped our bags in our room and jumped in the bus. I had the bit between my teeth at this point. I hadn’t come this far to fall at the first hurdle. I marched into the building and, after explaining what had happened and eventually being pointed in the right direction, we found a friendly immigration officer with a pre-printed form (this had obviously happened before) who issued Bill with a reprinted entry visa. RELIEF. I was so relieved I burst into tears, I could see all my plans floating away.
We made our way back to the CTS who processed our visa application. What a day. That’s why Bill isn’t allowed to wander off on his own!!! By this time it was 5pm and it was too late to do the tour I had planned. So we amused ourselves with travelling on The Escalator. This is the longest covered outdoor escalator system in the world and is the best way to travel between the central area, up through the mid levels and SoHo. It took two and a half years to build at a cost of HK$205 million roughly about £20 million.
This street market had lots of beautiful fruit for sale. I liked the building next to it. Can you guess why?
The view looking down from the top was really good.
So our first day in Hong Kong went from wonderful to awful to wonderful again and Bill took me for a delicious Italian meal to make up for all the stress of the day. Bless him he’d been so upset that he’d spoilt everything but it all worked out in the end. Tomorrow we can start enjoying Hong Kong.