When Mom and I got to Buffalo it was after 1 am. Found a hotel and crashed. Only got about 4 hours of sleep before we had to get up and go to the airport. Funny thing about the hotel manager’s name: Rashmikant, dad’s full name. Found that amusing.
Arrived 3 hours prior to departure even though the first part of the journey was a domestic flight. I was supposed to fly at 9:50 to Chicago, but made the 8 am flight instead. Arrived in Chicago before I was supposed to leave Buffalo. Then had 4 hours to spend. Nice walk around O’Hare before the 15 hour flight. Ended up sitting beside two really nice people. One guy, Jesse who is in HK for two weeks then heading up to Mainland China to teach English for a year.
Got on the Airport express that took me a few minutes from the hotel, but once I tried going with all of my luggage, decided that it was better if I take a taxi. That took another 30 minutes with the traffic in rush hour, but it was air conditioned and didn’t really cost much. Arrived at the hotel and they did everything to the nines! The woman at the desk upgrades my room so that I have one facing the harbour. She then escorts me up to the room and shows me how to use everything and guides me around everything available in the room then completes the booking. Talk about service! I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the morning. Wish I could stay here every day! woohoo! And look what’s right outside my door:
So I take a bath, freshen up with my Hermes products (wow) and sort myself out. Figure I might go to find the hotel that the crew is staying at. Find that it is more than just a stroll and advisable for tomorrow. Since my battery charger doesn’t work or I’ve already fried it, I have to buy batteries because none of mine are charged. What do they suggest? 7-11. Apparently that is the place to go. So I start wandering around the hotel and hit a dead end. I can’t cross the street for all the barracades. A guy comes up to me looking like he’s in the same predicament and starts talking to me. I keep my wits about me since I’m not used to strangers talking to me, especially when I still look like a freakin’ tourist. But things turn out pretty well. Neil works for an investment bank out of Boston (no, not state street) and works out of Tokyo. Also happens to be staying at the Mandarin (and no, I did not give him my room number, nor me his). He guides me to the ex-pat area of the town, Lan Kwai Fung. We sit down to dinner at a Thai place and have a couple of beers and a nice dinner. He then pays for it all. He figures that he’s the one with the expense account and for the amount of food, it could just as easily have been one person. Damn decent. We then start a conversation with a young British woman, Kat, who is working in mainland China and came back into Hong Kong to renew her visa. After dinner, Neil takes off because he has an early morning. I invite Kat for a night cap and we finish off the evening at a bar with a shot of Tequila to toast my friend Pierre’s birthday. We finish walking around the block and she heads to the ferry, and I head back to the hotel.
I have to tell you that an evening such as this is not typical for me, being as social as I am. I usually end up walking around the block having a sandwich for dinner and then turning in. Had I not followed Neil, it would have lead to that. I still have much to learn.
And here I am writing my blog for the day, taking full advantage of everything this room has to offer. The two of them said I would be up late and guess what? They were right. And I thought I had the jet lag beat. Damn! I’ll write a few postcards, finish watching my movie and then hit the hay. And I am sleeping in tomorrow if it kills me!
Thanks again go out to everyone who made this evening possible. It really is worth it and started my trip off with a bang.