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Published: July 30th 2018
As I have said many times - each 12 hour long haul flight is but 3 movies long. And sometimes it can be a trilogy that just needs to be watched. having read the Maze Runner series of books it was a good chance to compare and watching back-to-back movies can sometimes help pass the hours if you can't sleep.
Hong Kong airport: Exiting the airport proved to be a little more fraught than expected. Diligently following the hotel website instructions, we located the A14 reception desk and requested to book the hotel shuttle. Met by blank looks. This no longer happens so it would seem. Sooo.. out to the hotel shuttle pick up points - no luck there either. After wasting another 15 minutes we decided to buy the Airport express train ticket and get to Kowloon thence to find the hotel shuttle! Same day ticket cost HK105 return each. Easy and fast. Still no shuttle at the Kowloon station so a taxi we found. Then the driver tried to drop us off at the wrong hotel! Patiently, I showed him the address and that map again. This time he put his spectacles on! That seemed to help somehow.
We tried to follow his progress on the maps.me
app and after several minutes he skillfully negotiated the crazy traffic and narrow streets to the hotel car park. A lift took us to the 10th floor where we were able to stretch our tired, jet lagged bodies horizontally for 6 hours. Oh - the bliss of a hot shower. That misplaced hotel shuttle miraculously appeared to take us back to the train station where we were able to check in and grab our boarding passes before even getting to the airport. What a brilliant system that is.
Especially as it seems to be a complicated process to get 2 boarding passes for 3 seats. That invisible passenger - ‘ xsta’ confused the three people helping us as it took them several phone calls to ensure we were to be allocated 3 seats for 2 people, and how this could be done. Thank goodness we had allowed plenty of time so there were no queues at all. Buying the seat between has proven to be a good choice as an alternative to premier economy pricing. No more leg room but more width and space to breathe and try to sleep for some of the 11 hours 25 minute flight that lay ahead of us. Whilst the 17 hour layover had seemed to be a pain at the time of booking, it had worked out well to give us some relief from the jet lag grittiness caused by back to back long haul flights. Note to self: pay the extra and stay at the airport hotel next time. The cost of transport into Kowloon and the taxi almost made up the difference between cheap and nasty ( definitely not cheerful) day stay hotel room in Kowloon and the relative comfort of a room that you could actually swing a cat around in ( not sure how ‘pc’ that colloquialism is in these days of animal rights).
This time having yet another 4 hours waiting to board, we ate noodles and king prawns then we found a bar and some fellow passengers to share gossip and gin with. Yes I know it’s not advised to drink and fly but we decided it was a good idea to find some ‘dutch’ courage to take with us to Amsterdam. The waiting time in the flight corridors sobered us up quick enough and we were off on another red -eye flight. Unlike the last flight, somehow I couldn’t focus on any movies so after a not so appetizing meal when I managed to tip my glass of savvy onto that middle seat, I tossed a pill down my throat and tried to catch up on some sleep. That worked - sort of! Arrival into Amsterdam was relatively easy after the half hour delay for the baggage carousel to start working. That anxious wait for your bag to pop down and trundle its way into your waiting arms seems to take forever. Eventually both bags and owners were reunited and we breathed sighs of relief. The baggage ghosts of Barcelona can be laid to rest as could our aching bodies when we were eventually able to get into our room. Another story - our first day in Amsterdam.
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