| Like usual, we were
up late packing and trying to get things taken care of before our departure,
but this time around we were smart enough to schedule an afternoon flight
so we could get some sleep.
Taking out the trash and recycling, Randy noticed that the light coming
through the fog was particularly magical, so he ran and unpacked the camera
for a few quick pictures.
The Bayporter driver was a few minutes late, and then to make things worse,
the 'two' other passengers turned out to a group of five foreign businessmen,
so we were kind of squished on our ride in to SFO.
Nonetheless, we got to the airport with plenty of time, and even though
the check-in line was kind of long, we got through it in only ten or fifteen
minutes. Randy really likes the new international terminal at SFO. It's
very spacious and seldom seems crowded, even when there are lots of people
milling about. The ceiling has kind of a funky, open-beam wave shape to
it, and in places, colored glass or plastic has been affixed to the beams,
so that splotches of colored light move about on the floor as the sun plays
hide and seek with the fog outside.
Once we had our boarding passes, we set off to try and meet Mom and Pop
Tse, who came in on a United Flight from Logan Airport in Boston. On the way
to the domestic gates, we passed a toy store selling flying pigs (yeah!!),
as well as the aptly named beauty salon, the San Francisco Hairport, and a
packaging store, offering services such as suitcase wrapping (the better to
keep things secure!) and mailing for forbidden items like scissors, stun guns
and steak knives.
After making a wrong turn (by following a sign for the United 'Arrivals'
club), we found the point where folks arriving from the proper gate should
exit into the concourse, but after waiting ten or fifteen minutes, we decided
that it was too late, as Mom & Pop's plane had landed about 30 minutes
earlier, and there was no sign of them.
We headed back to the international concourse and breezed through the security
checkpoint -- another benefit of flying in the afternoon is that the lines
are much shorter! After a quick stop to pick up a box of See's Candies to
take as a gift for the Kwans, who had helped us with some of the travel
arrangements in Hong Kong, we made our way to the gate. Ting found Mom in
the gate check-in line (looking a bit dubious as to whether she needed to
check-in again) and promptly rescued her. It was wonderful to see them (we
only get to see them about once a year)!
The plane ride eastward is always longer because of the head-wind. The
trip was just a little over 14 hours. Between meals (which seemed to be
every 4 hours), we watched movies, napped, and read books and magazines.
Ting and Mom spent a chunk of time doing stretches in the back of the plane.
Mom is extraordinarily flexible considering that she is in her sixties!
When we arrived in Hong Kong, we sought out the information desk to find
where to take the bus into Kowloon. Since the signs were in English as well
as Chinese, it was not too difficult to find the bus stop. Unfortunately,
the bus map was outdated and we were let off a stop later than we were supposed
to (construction had eliminated one of the bus stops). It would have not
been such a big deal to walk back the few blocks except that it was raining.
Ting stopped under a overhead bridge and asked a passersby for directions
to the hotel and, as luck would have it, she knew exactly where it was! Even
though it was only a little past 9 when we were checked into our rooms, Randy
zonked out almost right away, so we decided to stay in for the night.