Spoiler: this blog post is really rather dull with very few photos.
Because of a typhoon in Hong Kong on Monday, I missed my last night’s connection to South Africa by about ten minutes – almost three hours late. Apparently Cathay have taken two or three days to catch up on cancelled flights etc, so the aircraft was late arriving into New Zealand. Very likely the plane next door to mine – which was loading as I disembarked at Hong Kong – was the plane travelling out, but they had already cancelled my onward flight in any case.
So after more than an hour of talking and negotiating, it was decided that I would not travel through Dubai to Johannesburg, but instead, take the same flights a day later. To those of you thinking that things would have become very fractious, you might have been surprised just how diplomatic I can be at times…They were still smiling at me after an hour! I am not sure, at the time of writing, that my last leg to George has been booked and confirmed etc. It was never booked by Cathay, but they seem to think they have managed to change it, so I will have to trust that they were not saying one thing but meaning another……
(Postscript to this: When I arrived to check in at Hong Kong airport, I found that my booking had been cancelled. they told me the flight had been cancelled. Another hour of waiting to be told that they had booked the same flight again and they would have a representative at the gate to help me through. I may even make an earlier flight if current flight information is correct)
I stayed in the Regal Airport Hotel ( at Cathay’s expense of course) – five minutes walk from the terminal. This is quite a nice large hotel and I have made the most of having a rest day, after arriving here at 2.00am (around 7.00am in NZ time), with very little sleep, as I had planned to sleep on the leg to Johannesburg overnight.
I decided quite early on to change into South Africa time, so I first got up for a nice buffet breakfast about 8.00. Salad, cooked tomato and bacon, melon, pineapple, coffee – all gluten-free. There were also various cooked dishes available, but I managed successfully to avoid them. Having lost the weight I wanted to lose, I am not about to put it all back on! So much travel in the next few months means lots of restraint needed at hotel spreads!
After a quiet morning, my “South Africa day started with about an hour in a very nice gym here – mostly quite a gentle workout, but it should help to work off the effects of yesterday’s flight. After then I went to have “breakfast” (at 1.00pm here) in the same buffet type restaurant as before. It is really quite impressive, with the food reflecting several cultures and types. Again I managed to eat very well and gluten-free. It was extremely noisy however, with, at one stage, about 150 people talking and laughing.
In the afternoon I went for a “morning” walk around the airport precincts. It was about 28 degrees, so it was rather warm for somebody coming from NZ’s very changeable Spring weather! The airport is far enough away from the centre of Hong Kong to avoid the pollution levels of the inner cirty, but it was still rather hazy, with the blue sky lacking the intensity of a clear New Zealand day. In the end though, the best view was that from my window. I must say that I did not hear a thing from the constant aircraft flying past. Note the haze in the background. this is a clear Hong Kong day…..it does lend a sort of “soft touch” blurring to the image.
I am spending the “afternoon” at the airport lounge before travelling overnight to Johannesburg. I have melatonin to take at a South african bedtime, which will hopefully help me to adjust more quickly to daytime hours the next day. Cathay would not book me on the early flight to George – in case I miss that as well, but they did say that I might be able to change to the earlier flight if I do manage to get through immigration and pickle up luggage quickly. The last time I did this flight, I was booked on the same early flight and made it easily, so we shall see.
It would be good to arrive early, but not a calamity to spend 4 hours at Johannesburg airport. I have lounge access – even for domestic flights, so I can always freshen up a little. Apparently a Cathay ground crew person will meet me at Johannesburg to take me through. I am not sure if that is a good sign , but Cathay have been quite helpful after initially creating the problem, because of their delay. The hotel here (plus food) is all at their expense, so I haven’t put out my budget…yet!! 🙂
I hope my future blog posts are rather more interesting than this blog, with rather more photo interest, however we shall see what adventures await after the “Cathay interrupted” flight.