26 August, 2011

The return begins...

Date - 24 August

The morning began, without breakfast today, as we needed to check out and get to the airport for the flight back to Hong Kong. We checked out, not a problem, but as we exited the hotel we were almost swamped by local taxi drivers who wanted our business... The bus direct to the airport is only a 3-4 minute walk up the road and the safer option we felt given the chaos on the roads here!

I politely said no thanks to the first couple of guys (all asking at the same time I might add) and we walked on... Then, another guy standing a few meters away asked, and this got a firmer response of NO back from me... now, I am normally a fair guy and replies are generally polite, but this morning I was either not in the mood for the constant repetitive questions that was going on about the same thing, all within earshot of each other, and when the last guy didn't take nicely to the firm 'NO' and said goodness knows WHAT to me in Chinese, I gave him the universal sign of NO THANKS being the 'Bird' back to him... (the middle finger)!!! Well, the garbage that came out of his mouth, both in Chinese and English, is way to unsavoury for this blog, so I will not tell you what he said, but he finally got the idea that he was not going to get the fare from us!

We got to the bus, paid our fare and whilst waiting on it, they squeezed us into a seat... The ride was, often slow, but uneventful in getting us to the airport on time. NOW, the Chinese have a very strange way of operating a dual operation, single terminal here in Xian... You see, the last 10 or so gates are International designated so no problem here right. Well, to get to them, you have to pass through a gate that has immigration officials there serving no purpose other than stopping you going through to check-in until a given time! That time, was of course, uncharacteristically late (for Chinese) and we were left standing around for an extended period of time. Once through, there was very little in the way of shops, including places for breakfast, so we simply sat around and chatted a little... The flight was uneventful across to Hong Kong as well.

Once we arrived in Hong Kong again, there was a slightly smaller line to clear immigration, We were only here for around 24 hours, so it was a quick trip to the hotel, and to hit the streets for some shopping. However, it was sad to hear that along the way, taxi from Kowloon Station to the hotel, that DW had lost his iPhone! We tried to locate it via phone finder (great app), but it was nowhere to be seen using GPS. We even tried calling it, but when it took the girls (four) in reception to have a conference about doing it and how, we walked away!

We eventually caught up with CJ in Hong Kong for some shopping. He showed us around some great shops. Both J and I got battery grips for the cameras, but unfortunately, D and us got separated and as we had no way of calling/SMS'ing him, we caught up much later that night.

Date - 25 August

After a restless nights sleep, we had an earlyish morning to get a couple of things done. D had purchased a new phone and needed to go back to the 3 Shop (around the block) to get the PUK code fixed. So he and I walked around, but when we got there, it would not open until 11am!!!! So we left it, grabbed some bread/pastries from a shop (with an OJ) and went back to the room for breakfast. After checking out, we hailed a cab to get us back to Kowloon and back to the airport for some spotting... Maybe!

Unfortunately, when we got back there it was SO hazy, which meant we would not be able to see much. We headed up to the Skydeck, but due to haze, heat and glare, we headed back inside!

When we were heading in, J had noticed a couple of things and wanted to clear immigration and get some pics, so he headed off through terminal 1 whilst D and I grabbed a coffee. After which, we headed through immigration through Terminal 2, which was a much easier exercise than through T1!

After grabbing a couple of shots etc within the terminal, we boarded our MH flight and returned back to Kuala Lumpur. It was an uneventful flight and clearing immigration in KUL was a breeze!

When we arrived at the hotel, and as it was also Ramadan, they were having a feast and a buffet in the dinning room. It was well after the sun setting, and there was a lot of people there, but the food smelt amazing! We dropped our bags in the room and headed for dinner. The food was as good as it smelt, and the array of choices was simply amazing indeed!

After a hotel massage, I headed for bed, not that I could sleep that much as we needed to be up at 4am to get ready, breakfast and be across at the airport for an early morning flight back to Sydney!

Date - 26 August

Breakfast in the hotel, was a typical continental breakfast, with a slight twist of Malaysian style as well. We checked out, and caught the bus to get across to the airport. On the way, there was a young lady who was not at all well, and within about 2 minutes of the bus leaving (and it took all of 10) she had a bag and was throwing up into it. She was very discreet about it, so it must be a common event for her. Again, immigration clearance was easy, and we were into KUL locating our gates for the return flights We were out at the satellite terminal this time, so a short trip across on the driverless train and we were there. We said our farewells to D and boarded our flight back to Sydney whilst D got his flight back to Melbourne.

It was a great trip, of which I would happily do again. Xi'an was a fascinating city, if only it had blue skies, and Hong Kong is marvelous and will most definitely revisit!

Hoo roo for now...


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