Even after sixteen hours of not sleeping, entering the bright and sleek Hong Kong airport felt like waking up. At the Hong Kong airport I thought I’d have 4.5 hours to spare until my connecting flight to Chiang Mai, but after frantically trying and failing to get the wi-fi to work on my phone and not knowing I was supposed to fill out a form for Hong Kong Customs – thereby getting cut in the customs line by a giant group of tourists – by the time I checked in for the connecting flight I had only a little over 3 hours to spare.
I started out with a “relaxing” lunch alone at a dim sum restaurant at 7am. Two out of three dishes were winners, but all three felt authentic. I ordered pork buns, prawn dumplings in impossibly sticky casings, and a slimy chicken and mushroom dish which only had one mushroom and lots of weird stuff. I’m not a very picky eater in the least, but I think real dim sum is still going to be an acquired taste for me. The whole experience was somewhat confusing and the service negligent. Though it was 7am it felt like mid-afternoon to me, so I was thrown-off to begin with. I hoped that 90HKD (put on my credit card) was a reasonable deal. I hadn’t prepared for Hong Kong at all, or even thought about the currency exchange for my brief layover! Thankfully, I was able to get my Hong Kong airport wi-fi working and could google it – $12, not bad.
I followed up my lunch by finding a special luxe lounge that you pay to use. Since I didn’t have the time or want to spend the money for a nap room (600HKD for 3 hours – good to know it’s an option!) I got a 15 minute back and neck massage and a 60 minute spa pedicure that was basically like trying to take a nap on a luxurious bed while someone tickles your feet. The experience was probably more expensive than 10 massages in Thailand combined, but I didn’t know that yet. I figured that from what I knew about having to take your shoes off in asia, my winter feet should be made to look somewhat human.
Midway through my service, the sweet pedicurist went to check my gate for me since it hadn’t been announced yet when I began getting pampered. She told me that I wouldn’t have time for my toes to dry, so she gave me a pair of terry cloth slippers and used a razor blade to slash toe openings in them so that my red pedicure wouldn’t be ruined running to my gate! I ran out of the salon only to discover that I needed to take an air train across the airport to get to the right place… I soared down the escalator and onto the train in the hastily cut, ill-fitting, white floppy terry slippers, with my socks, sneakers, and carry-ons in hand! I couldn’t help but laugh. I definitely got some “crazy white girl” side-eye.
It was too comical to stress, and I made my plane in time after all! Thankfully I didn’t break my neck in the process, or ruin the pedicure.
Exhausted, I reclined in my brand new, Air Asia seat, bought a bottle of water (because nothing is free on these budget airlines), and excitedly awaited my landing in Chiang Mai, where my real adventures would begin!!