We checked out of the Hotel in Phuket and had arranged for transport to the airport with a local guy who runs his own company, well, transporting people to the airport. He picked us up in his brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee (or Ford Explorer, what ever, aren’t they the same?) which he was quite proud of. The entire trip to the airport he was showing it off to us, saying that it was his prize possession. No comment on this here.
We went to check in for our flight on Air Asia back to Hong Kong and only had a minor snafu. Apparently if you don’t check your bags ahead of time for Air Asia flights its $25US a bag, and oh yeah they only take cash, and oh yeah we just ran out. Ugh. No worries though, I was able to fill up around the corner and get us moving again, though, it was probably pretty annoying for the people behind us in line to wait 20 minutes for me to go to do this. Yep, we were those people and we were under no circumstances going to lose our spot.
The flight back to Hong Kong was uneventful and I remember feeling happy that I skipped the in flight meal for once. We landed and caught a cab back to the same place we had stayed almost 3 weeks earlier. It strangely felt like home; some random guy’s apartment in Hong Kong, probably because it was the first place we had been in 3 weeks that we actually had been before. It was pretty late so we decided to just grab dinner across the street at an Italian fusion kind of restaurant place called Fat Angelo’s. I really don’t remember what I had, but I do remember that I had a beer and then a vodka, and then another. There was some gnocchi involved.
The next morning, our group was divided into two parellel missions: REAL coffee and Egg Tartlets. The coffee was…lets just say needed…but the Egg Tartlets were the real treat. Danielle had researched these little guys and they did not disappoint. If you are ever in Hong Kong, get you some from Tai Cheong; they really were the best. We spent the rest of the morning shopping and ended up with some soy sauce bowls and chop sticks which have actually used a few times. We also stumbled into Lane Crawford at the IFC mall which was selling a 17,000USD sweater, which is most certainly not a thing. Erin bought a few necklaces from else-a-muh-wheres and well yeah.
We had taken a tip from a friend of VJ’s brother and went to dinner at a restaurant on the Kowloon side of the river called Hutong, just below Kowloon park. The restaurant was fairly pricy, but it was our last night so we decided to just go for it. We ordered almost everything on the menu and all of it was worth every penny, especially because of the view that the restaurant had over the river to Hong Kong Island. Supposedly there is a light show that goes on every night with some of the buildings in the city, and we should have had a great view of it, but either we missed it or we didn’t know what to look for because nothing stood out.
After dinner we were uncomfortably full so we went to walk around some of the night markets. I think after this we finally learned our lesson about “markets” when traveling: If it is advertised in a book, you don’t want to go there. We waded through the piles of junk: knock-off Angry Birds backpacks, factory-“carved” souvenirs, and fake purses; we got back on the subway and crossed back to the Hong Kong side of the river.
There was one big night life area that we had yet to go to yet that was fairly close to where we were staying: Lan Kwai Fong. We headed up there and ended up bellying up in a place shaped like a keg and drinking Molsons and watching soccer. A little later we bar hopped to place that had more authentic fare and met up with a friend of VJs from high school, or maybe college. We shared a few, and then a few more and right around midnight we left and went to the club. Seriously. Red-bull and vodka, bass thumping, strange old wealthy guy in a booth in the corner, fist pumping ex-pats around the DJ club. Everyone was very nice and let us partake in their bottle service. Somehow we skipped the line outside entirely and I’m still not altogether sure how this happened. After awhile we said goodbye and started walking back to our place. Our flight was at 10am the next morning so we wanted to get some sleep…
…except that on the way home we some how found ourselves in another bar ordering a bottle of wine, which we deleted. As you might expect, the night ended in pizza-by-the-slice and Kebabs; a memory which only recently jogged in my memory when I visited the Mediterranean Deli here in college park…my brother.
We stumbled home at 3am, through the dark streets of city that seemed like it was just getting its second wind and let sleep take us for as long as we could (because there was no way I was getting on an air plane without showering). I can’t speak for everyone else, but I slept from Hong Kong to Tokyo, woke up long enough to drift to our connection, and then slept for about 4 hours more. The flight to Chicago didn’t seem near as long as the flight over. We arrived at the Chicago airport and had 5 hours to kill so we found a Terminal that was deserted, stretched out and slept some more. On the clock it had only been 6 hours since we left Hong Kong, but we had been traveling for 19 hours…or something, you do the math.
We woke up to many angry faces as the deserted terminal, whose seats we had monopolized, had in the last 2 hours, turned into quite an active terminal of people waiting to board a flight to Newark or somewhere people go. I actually like to imagine that there had been another flight before this one that had come and gone without us even realizing it.
Orlando -> Hong Kong -> Hanoi -> Bai Tu Long Bay -> Hanoi -> Siem Reap -> Phnom Peng -> Bangkok -> Railay Beach -> Phi Phi Island -> Phuket -> Hong Kong -> Orlando.
What an adventure.
Now…where to next?