My sleep was fitful, it always is if I know I have to be up early. I gave up with the sleep, and soon I was saying my farewells to Dan. He had been good company over the last week; cities are much more enjoyable if you have someone to share them with.
Shortly after 5am I was speeding through Hong Kong in a cab. Despite the early hour, the roads were busy. Roads in Hong Kong are three dimensional because of space limitations, with major roads weaving through the concrete jungle about 10m above the streets below.
At one busy intersection, an enormous meeting area of umpteen flyovers, the "wasteland" was strewn with hundreds of palettes, the whole area appearing to be a wholesale trading area for fruit and vegetables. Those men not engaged in lifting and shifting produce were going through tai chi and stretching rituals.
The cab driver skilfully weaved his way through the early morning traffic. Aggressive driving is the norm around these parts, there is no scope for the faint hearted. By 6am he had delivered me to the airport. As far as payment for taxis is concerned, two approaches are adopted, and few words are spoken in either case. One breed of cab driver will adjust the meter reading on arrival to show how much he wants, the other will leave the meter reading, but will adjust the amount of change he gives. They all get their tips one way or the other.
The whole process of getting onto the plane was smooth and efficient. As the comfy Air New Zealand plane climbed over Lantau Island, I caught sight of the 5.7km cable car strung across hill tops from Tung Chung to Ngong Ping. It looked quite spectacular, and it also appeared to be working today.
Soon I was speeding over clouds, and the cloud cover remained all the way until the UK, the only relief from the grey void being the tips of peaks poking up from the Himalayas. Long haul flights are extremely boring, and I resorted to the in-flight entertainment to tide me over. I watched Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy for the third time; I'm starting to understand it now. In addition I watched the whole series of Billy Connolly's Route 66 trip, very funny and entertaining.
Eventualy I found myself at the arrivals gate looking forward to meeting my two daughters and grandson. They were nowhere to be seen. My flight had arrived early and for some reason my anticipated landing time of 14:05 had been transposed by Sally to 14:50. But we did meet up, and I was over the moon to see them all again. It was 18 months ago when they picked me up after my Rockies trip. Then, Oliver had just started walking, now I had a job to catch up with him when he was running. We took him up to a roof top to view the planes taking off, and he squealed with delight. I was heart warmed to find that Oliver just picked up where we had left off.
As usual, there were little jobs lined up for me. Dan's hard drive on his laptop had crashed, and Sally's car needed attention, but these little things, although sent to try me, soon bring me back to earth. The initial euphoria of my return is soon replaced by anti-climax, and the week or two or readjustment kicks in.
I will get around to appending my reflections on the trip and update the web site in due course.
I hope my sharing this adventure with you brought a little colour, humour and knowledge into your life, and better still, will have inspired you to go out and live your own dreams. You only have one chance in life; don't leave it too late! Just go out and do it.
Good luck and be safe!