Gate 46, Terminal E2, HKG Airport:
Landing at an airport betwixt the mountains and the sea should conjure up an atmosphere of wistful romanticism & it would have done so, were it not for one trivial detail.
Hong Kong (HK) airport at 5:30 am is enveloped in a pea-soup blanket of fog effectively obscuring practically all of the coast and most of the mountains. Still, I'm here; HK, China, South Asia - legendary lands of Oriental mystery and pizazz (okay, so I just wanted that word in there). After the drabness of LAX, this airport albeit an airport, is almost incomparably better. It's cheery looking, seemingly efficient and no, I am not being paid to write this.
I read somewhere that it's the largest airport in the world and it occurred to me that money has been well spent. Of course, the constant sombre reminders about the colour of the national security threat level (you figure it out) have now been replaced by the repeated squawks imploring all and sundry to watch their step on the escalators (finally!!). There's even some people doing Tai Chi in a quite corner... as if to accentuate the geographic location of HK.
I'd have been posting this live from the airport but my laptop battery is dead and there's not a plug-point in sight. This one is coming to you the old fashioned way; I'm sprawled on a couple of chairs at Gate 46, sipping my Café Mocha & scribbling on scraps of paper, to be transferred to the blog whenever possible. The coffee, by the way, is courtesy of Starbucks, which is a blunt reminder that American brands, like the foreign policy, are everywhere. Except Cambodia. I did find out that that the 'Big Mac' is reaching even these distant parts via Hanoi... or was it Saigon ? The point is, I have to grudgingly admit the Starbucks coupled with the 2 United airlines planes parked some distance away, was a comfortingly familiar landmark.
While I cannot do this now, I would like to take in the HK sights on my return through from Phnom thanks to a long layover. But, that is more than 4 months away and the rudimentary plan is tucked away to the back of the closet. For now, I will continue to sprawl, sip my coffee and wait for my next flight. Largest modern airport it may be but I can already feel the first, tentative tendrils of humidity at HK. A portent, I believe.
All I hope is that my bags will have made the convoluted journey from Phoenix - L.A - Hong Kong to Phnom Penh.
Song for the moment: I get around - The Beach Boys