The good news is we made it to Hong Kong in one piece. It was not nearly a perfect journey and the effects of the 3 days of travel plus a 12 time zone difference are still weighing heavy.
We woke at 5am on the 26th after only 3 hours sleep. The excitement and stress of double, triple checking everything kept us up late. The first leg of our trip was easy as pie. Customs in Miami is definitely easier now that they’ve adopted the machine system for all Canadian and USA passport holders. The lines are still infinitely slow and long but the airport has everything you could possibly need on a long layover. And a long layover it was.
For nearly the entire six hours April and I both battled our banks on the ATM fronts and through the public pay phones. (So glad they haven’t disposed of that technology!) Each and every one of our US and Canadian cards failed at the one moment we needed to ensure that we left this side of the world with a little back up cash. I guess it is better that this happened stateside rather than finding out too late.
On arrival at Newark International we found out our flight was delayed… by 16 HOURS! This was actually the good part of our trip. The airline set us up with free food and accommodations, two things we desperately needed by 1am on the 27th. We would have been inconsolable messes had we gone straight through on the scheduled flight. Instead, we got some tasty Mediterranean food for dinner and had an excellent night sleep at the Ramada Inn.
By noon we returned to the airport to check back in and complete our journey halfway around the world.
If I was the kind of person who believed that all the bad things that can happen, WILL happen, I would never walk out my front door. Instead, I traded owning a front door for the opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to explore the world in my turtle shell (aka my backpack.) My few belongings, which were very carefully selected, are the only material possessions I have to aid me through the overwhelming, confusing, fantastic and foreign moments. So, when Cathay Pacific called us up to the counter just 5 minutes before boarding the plane to tell us our bags never made it, I could not even digest the information.
I’m the first person to declare materialism as destructive. Most things are replaceable. Life is more than things we accumulate and I have certainly walked that talk. My whole life is down to this one pack. But in this moment, that pack became a symbol of everything April and I sacrificed to make this dream come true. Suddenly there were so many emotions. Beyond the doomsday bullsh*t I imagined, having to start again in a new continent with no possessions at all, I was enraged at the airline. They had this information for 16 hours since we arrived at Newark. They chose exactly 5 minutes before the plane left on a 15 and ½ hour flight to confront us about it. It was cowardice. It was evil really because I knew that for the next 15 and ½ hours I was destined to think only of how I would overcome this new obstacle. Ruminating and feeling wildly uncomfortable that is, my body contorted in awkward positions, wishing only that I could just fall asleep.
Hong Kong, Asia
It’s is now the 28th of May. I don’t even have to adjust my watch. Am just becomes pm and it’s the middle of the night here. The bags aren’t even my first concern anymore. April and I are more worried about whether our couchsurfing host for tonight is still going to let us into his home (if we can even find it). I don’t have the energy to fight the airline. We filled out all the paper work and we each accepted 500HK$ restitution for the temporary inconvenience. Temporary sounds hopeful.
Miracle on ATM street. It totally worked, the bank actually rectified our situation. Things are going our way again.
The bills here are enormous and very colourful. We managed to catch the very last bus leaving the airport into Kowloon area. It was a blurry ride but we made it to host’s luxury complex. Wow! We did not expect this. Mr. Lin is a busy man so there isn’t much socializing, good thing for us right now. He kindly showed us to the couch and how to work the showers. It’s everything we could want.
Whatever happens, we survived the journey and we are thrilled to begin another wild adventure, no matter how upside down we may feel right now.