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Published: March 19th 2016
I had a huge breakfast in anticipation of missed meals during the long day of travel. There were sad good-byes to our hosts at La Beauty de Hanoi. I gave maple syrup to the lady who oversees the breakfast kitchen and to the girl at the front desk who called me Santa Claus. I explained to her that it was Santa’s duty to give gifts to people who do a good job. Claudette also left a good tip in the box for that purpose. I guess it was acceptable and appreciated, judging from the wild-eyed smile from the staff present.
Incredibly, we made it to the airport in virtual silence. The driver followed all the rules of the road. I wondered that they even existed, and he didn’t honk his horn once during the 45 minute drive.
The Air Vietnam flight to Hong Kong went smoothly, including another breakfast. We had a three hour wait in Hong Kong. That is when things started to go wrong.
I needed to recharge my tablet and found a place at the next gate down. It didn’t work so I went back to our gate. There was nowhere to sit. I went back to the other gate, sat down and started to read. I fell asleep. I dozed on and off and did not hear my flight announcement. Or the three personal calls for me.
When I looked up I saw that my gate seemed quite empty. As I approached, a young man quickly approached and called me by name. I was too late. Boarding was closed. Claudette had everybody looking for me. Unfortunately, she described my clothing incorrectly. She thought maybe that I had had a coughing fit in the bathroom, passed out and hauled off to the hospital. She got off the plane. Our baggage was removed because I was a no-show and it was registered under my name.
The Cathay rep took me back to the arrival area via the staff corridors. I had told the rep my wife would be angry with me. He said he doubted that. She was relieved to see me but I knew it would be short-lived. The rep went off to see if he could re-book us. The Cathay rep that had been staying with Claudette was of a different opinion. She had told Claudette that she had every right to be angry and if I had been her husband, I would have been in deep do-do. He came back to say we would be able to catch the 1 am flight. Only six hours more wait but who’s complaining. There were no extra charges for all the trouble I had put them through. Bravo Cathay Pacific! I doubt Air Canada would have done this for free.
At this point, Claudette decided she wanted to be on her own, after knowing I was OK. We both did our own thing, wandering the airport corridors and shops. We didn’t know until two hours before departure what gate to gather at. We met up again after about three hours and all was well but it may be a while before I live this one down.
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