Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hello Typhoon Vicente!

5.20am - Woke up and get ready to depart to the Hong Kong International Airport from Metropark Hotel Kowloon. The flight is supposed to depart at 8.45am.

6.00am - Checked out and head to the concierge to get a taxi. The staff informed us that the authorities hoisted the highest No. 10 tropical cyclone signal for several hours overnight and that morning it was No.8 and there might be no taxis. There's not even a single soul on the streets. More details on the typhoon here.

6.30am - The staff helped to hail a taxi from the pouring rain and strong winds. The usual taxi fare to HKIA from the hotel is HKD$260 and that morning, the taxi driver wanted to charge us HKD$800. What a rip off and moreover, I only had HKD$600 left. I decide to wait for another taxi.

6.45am - The staff was so sharp to have spotted an Airport Shuttle Express Bus passing by the hotel and he ran out there with my luggage to ensure that we got onto the bus. He even told the bus driver that he was crazy to have driven the bus at this weather. I thought we were very lucky to get a free ride to the Kowloon MTR station where we could take the Airport Express to HKIA.

 The bus that saves me HKD$620

7.00am - We ran out of luck! On the way to the Kowloon MTR station, we saw a car reversing out from the road ahead and I thought something must have happened. And indeed there was a fallen tree that blocked the single lane road leading into the station. The driver told us that if we are rushing for time, we could just get down and walk into the station. We did! It was a 5 minutes walk under the rain and some blowing wind and I'm glad we did that or else we'll never make it to the airport.

The Airport Express service is really convenient. One could just take the free shuttle to the Kowloon MTR station, purchase a ticket from the ticketing machine (One Way from Kowloon to HKIA is HKD$90) and then using the same ticket to access the check in counter area to check in the luggages and to collect the boarding passes.

7.15am - We head one floor down and wait for the trains. First train departs at 5.53am and it runs every 10 minutes. It took only about 20 minutes to get to HKIA. It was very comfortable and they even provide information on which door to exit (right or left) if you're heading to Terminal 1 or 2. Taking the airport express saved so much money and time!
7.45am - We enquired about the status of the flight at the MAS check in counters and the staff told us to come back to the counter at 11am to enquire again. It's not even 8am and you want me to wait until 11am to check on the status?!! He gave each of us HKD$40 for breakfast.

This is how it feels to be outdoors during the warning No.8

 Sulky face & lots of food and people too!

8.00am - Had my breakfast at Fairway which is on the same floor as the check in counters. They do not accept the airline meal vouchers and I had to pay HKD$30 for my Congee + Fried noodle set. Then we explored downstairs where there are more eateries and we could use the voucher at one of those outlets and so I decide to have breakfast round no.2. That's another HKD$40 for the Nissin noodle with egg and sausages with a honey lemon drink.
9.00am - Went upstairs again and have an English Breakfast tea at Starbucks while waiting for the clock to strike 11am. The tea costs almost HKD$30.

This is the fashion in HK during rainy days. 
I saw so many of them wearing PCK boots in colours you've never imagined!

11.00am - The staff at the counter told us that the flight is estimated to depart at 4pm. They gave each of us another HKD$40 voucher for lunch. An hour later, they confirmed that the flight will depart at 5pm. SIGH............

12.30pm - We decide to enter the departure hall. One thing I learnt from this experience is that one should never enter into the departure area (pass immigration) because you can check with the airline staff for the latest updates on your delayed flight and at the same time you can also claim for meal vouchers. Many who were stranded inside the departure area did not get the vouchers.

Did you know that you can always travel in style when in Hong Kong? How about getting picked up at the Airport on a Rolls Royce Phantom for the ultimate ride into the city? You can arrange that thorough the Peninsula Hotel. The one-way trip costs HK1,500.

There is just so many shops to browse at the airport. I think I'm lucky to be stranded in HKIA and not in Manila airport! Well, Zara saved me as I spent quite sometime in there choosing and trying on clothes. Total damage was only HKD$1000 for a 5 pieces which I would never be able to get with the prices in Malaysia. Such a good deal!

2.00pm - After shopping, I'm hungry again and I have to use the meal vouchers. I wanted to eat the Roast Goose rice. It's my 2 nd Roast Goose rice for the entire trip and did you know how much was the rice with a cold Osmanthus drink?!! It was HKD$100!!! OMG did I just had a RM40 plate of rice?!! Instead of topping up in cash for the difference, the lady at the counter was so super nice that she said we don't need to pay for it. I still don't get it until now why did she do that.

People who are stranded at the airport since yesterday are making themselves comfortabble on the carpets. Err.. I hope I would never need to do that. The departure hall is really packed with passengers and since there is a lacked of space to sit, some of them even dine on top of a recycle bin!

3.30pm - Went and check out the wines and liquor and ended up buying a bottle of Chateau Potensac  Medoc 2005. One should really buy wines in Hong Kong because it's really duty free and it's so cheap! I just couldn't resist the temptations of such affordable wines.

4.30pm - Finally we are ready to board. The walk from the main departure hall to gate 35 took us at least 5-10 mins as we need to take a train to the other side. There's easily 500 gates at HKIA.

 Gloomy skies and heavy clouds.

5.45pm - The plane finally took off. What irked me is that this is a very old A330-300/200 and the entertainment unit was spoilt and I can see that no staff ever get it checked because the monitor kept dropping. Lucky the flight was quite empty and I had lots of space. I think I ate too much during that 8 hours and I didn't touch the airline food at all when they served us at 7pm. The choices for dinner also were lousy (Chicken Rice or Omelette with Potatoes). Who the hell eats omelette for dinner? And by the way, they also served omelette for breakfast on the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong.

9.15pm - I have finally landed in KLIA. What a day!

6.50am - On the way to work...


Mun Mun said...

Glad you survive the first hand experience of the typhoon. Plus you really made full use of your time to shop, eat and explore HKIA.

Nice sulky face! Cute!

Must be tired from the long wait n the flight back.. REst more when you can!

Take care!

Constance Ant said...

glad that you reach malaysia sound and safe!

Constance Ant said...

glad that you reach malaysia sound and safe!

foongpc said...

What an experience!! But not bad lah since you enjoyed all the shopping and eating! LOL!

suituapui said...

Gosh!!! I would not have survived that! All stressed out, fuming mad...and die of a heart attack! Always pray no such untoward incidents when I travel...

Sean said...

yikes, i hate getting trapped at airports too. i had a four-hour airasia flight delay from ho chi minh city a few years ago, and the airline hadn't notified us ahead of time, so i had to spend more than six hours exploring the airport before i could board the flight back to kl...

eiling lim said...

Mun Mun: Thanks.

Constance Ann: Thanks!

Foongpc: Yeah like I said, I was lucky that it was HKIA and not some super small airports.

STP: Well, sometimes we can't really predict what's going to happen so better be prepared!

Sean: Well, I hope Air Asia did compensate you in meals or something like that. I hate delays too considering the amount of time i spent on traveling.

Huai Bin said...

Nice! I've never experienced HK with a typhoon of that level. Heh. I would want to try it. :)

Yeah gotta hate delays when you're going home, at the airport, and can't go out anymore.

ciki said...

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Anonymous said...

He must be a great guy since you finally looked so relax n happy even in the midst of a typhoon no 8.

Happy for u!

eiling lim said...

Huai Bin: haha I am pretty sure you would really want to try it.

Cumi & Ciki: I've changed it.

Anon: Thanks!

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