Every few years, I take a plane back to the home country. One of those times, I took Cathay Pacific and purposely chose a flight with a 10 hour long layover in Hong Kong so I could explore the city before I arrive in Cebu. I relied on Hong Kong’s tourism website for my itinerary which proved to be very useful and easy to navigate. As with almost all travels, there were unavoidable surprises along the way.
My general itinerary was to be in the Victoria area by early morning via the express train from the airport then ferry ride so I could be there at around 6 am and join the people in their Tai-chi exercise. After which, I planned to go to Tim Ho Wan a Michelin starred restaurant then walk around Mongkok. Maybe have tea somewhere.
Well I was able to go to the park and found a smattering of people in different parts of the park doing Tai-chi. However there was no official looking group that taught tourists. Maybe I was too late or they were scheduled on another day.
Marathon to Michelin
I eventually got to Tim Ho Wan, Mongkok Branch but only after walking around in circles. I missed a small side street that was not on my map. This is a Michelin starred restaurant and probably the only one I can afford (that time and for now). I didn’t enjoy it so much. I want to go there again when I don’t feel my stomach gnawing with hyperacidity. They have a lot of branches now and even one in Manila. I sat beside this young American guy who said he was recently in Vancouver to work on a Delta Airlines ad and also visited there with his girlfriend. I wonder how I came across as I thought it normal to small talk (I think I assume this on travels). He seemed uninterested. All I was able to say was that I worked in admin and taking up finance. For sure I looked like a high schooler or something.
As planned, I walked and window-shopped along Mongkok and got back to the Central station, the last MTR station where I could get the airport express train with plenty of time to spare. There was music outside the train station. A man played a keyboard and some ladies were singing. One of them said hi to me. All of a sudden, I was flocked with three of these nice but pious Filipinas. I was being ambush evangelized! It’s a strange experience to be stuck with three ladies preaching while you sip your matcha Starbucks trying to think of a way out. I should have said I was Christian, not Catholic. I realized that if I wanted to get out I should just convert instantly… yet again! I left them with my “contact details” and escaped. Shocked and amused, I continued on to the mall, took more pictures and finally decided I better go back to the airport.
I Just Need A Shower
I was looking for shower areas in the airport and on my way I had to ask or go near these lounges. I knew that many are membership only but I was aware that a shower area was available for non-member passengers to use for a fee. What I didn’t appreciate was the impolite and condescending way the staff informed me that it was a membership lounge without properly directing me to where I wanted to go. It’s like they needed me to disappear immediately. This happened twice. Unfortunately the difference in treatment was very visible when compared to how they spoke with a Caucasian man. I was a petite Filipina, sweaty and disheveled from all that walking, which was exactly why I needed a shower! I eventually found what I was looking for and came out of the shower clean and pretty in my summer dress. A shower can wash away all your woes.
Indecent Proposal on the Flight Back
I thought my HK adventure ended in my 10 hour layover. My flight back, I only had 3 hours for airport transfer. But it was not to be. My flight was delayed due to the weather. I arrived in HK and had trouble finding the Cathay Pacific desk. The signs were off. I was in a sour mood. A guy who seemed to be going to YVR asked me a question and I think I anwered with a scowl on my face. Sorry to that guy whoever you are! I finally found the desk and felt better. My mood improved and I chatted with two Cebuano guys in line. One going to Oslo and the other going to Dubai. During the long wait in line, the two shared that each had a family and kids they were leaving behind for work abroad.
We were going to be billeted in the same hotel and we figured we could share the cab fare. In the end, the one going to Oslo found a flight and so the other guy and I decided to share the cab fare ourselves. I know, I know from the get-go that I shouldn’t have done such a thing but let me tell you that back in the day and in some provinces, those things would be considered normal. We proceeded to ride the cab to the Harbour Grand Hong Kong. All went well, I even got the bridal suite all to myself! The frontdesk staff was friendly and welcoming. I could finally rest in my room after the long lineups and hassle. Then after a few hours my phone rings and it’s the guy. He says “Can I sleep over there because my grandmother just died and I’m a little scared.” Oh my God I could not believe it. Weirdest reason given for a hook-up but I guess that worked for him before? I was still polite to this sorry excuse of a guy who had a wife and kids making a booty-call. Ew! ” No you cannot. I am not comfortable with that.”
That was the end of it but it still made me uneasy specially that I knew we’ll end up being on the same noon shuttle back to the airport. I looked up the earliest time for the shuttle and went on that one instead. I was in the airport early but I was glad to get away.
I recounted this story to my Mr. Leading Man and he said I was a very trusting traveler and to never do that again. Now that experience was mild. But how many women thought they were only being friendly then get such awful treatment from entitled
men boys? There’s just something wrong with that.
Maybe I should have played a game called How Many Examples of Social Oppression Can I Come Across in A Trip?
Anyhow, after all the misadventures I had in Hong Kong I wouldn’t let go of those travel memories. I learned something from the trip for sure. Now I can’t wait for my next travel adventure. Only, I’m hoping there’s less misses and more hits.
What were your travel misadventures? Especially the ladies, have you ever received indecent proposals from fellow travelers? How did you deal with travel hiccups?