Thursday, 11 February 2016

Wintereise - via Zurich to Hong Kong and not by Schubert !

The journey to Hong Kong via Swiss Airlines took slightly longer than others I have taken over the years. We had a short stopover in Zurich- very short indeed infact - just about 50 minutes ! This was not even long enough for a decent coffee ! It was interesting to hear all the announcements in German, and I felt quite pleased by how much of it I clearly understood. One tends always to be dealing with subjects such as love, death, heartache or tragedy within the usual lyrics behind a German Lied, and the texts seem to be slightly more fraught than the language which deals with welcoming you onboard, and have a happy flight ! That vocabulary is a bit underused in my line of work ! Thus it was a pleasant surprise to realise I did not need to wait for the English version to know what was going on !

The odd thing about this airline was the total lack of maps and flight information on the back seat TV monitors. I am really used to being able to follow the route and count down the 5000 miles give or take a few......and I missed that. I felt totally out of the journey and its sense of purpose and forward drive. The staff however were superb, most attentive and caring. I was very lucky, the young teen in the seat next to me was the daughter of the chief steward and by half way through the flight he had whisked her off to higher standards of air travel, most likely into business class, which meant I could avail myself of two seats and put my feet up ! One forgets how glorious that is on a 13 hour flight !

The journey was a different time schedule than any I have done before to this part of the world. I have only ever left mid morning and arrived early morning Hong Kong time in past visits, but this left evening time and arrived at 5.30pm Hong Kong time. Jet lag is simply jet lag so grogginess was still the order of the day, regardless of departure and arrival time however ! Not having to stay up for a long day prior to sleeping I would say is marginally easier. Landing at 5.30 meant just a short few hours before I was able to retire for a proper (and long....) nights sleep.

The hotel is really rather swish, and at the moment totally bathed in Chinese New Year red decorations with lots of gold tassels and indeed anything else one can imagine for. Chinese festival. The only odd thing is the fact that there is no wardrobe ?? Now what is that about........all my dresses and jackets are hanging on an open rail with the fridge and tea and coffee making facilities underneath - now clearly they make the assumption every guest is the size of Tom Thumb or usually folk stay only a night or two, or nowadays guests pack three T shirts some shorts and a cardigan........maybe it is a combination of all three.

I have seen my timetable and it is quite hefty, but I am glad to say it is the exact 40 hours and no more, so at least that is manageable ! Also I do not start any day before 1pm - just like home, except I finish each night at 10pm, but hey I can manage that and the young lady and singing teacher who is running the course is just delightful and has done a great job with the timetable, and been so very considerate with time for breaks and food.

I am still very much recovering from the jet lag, but I am not quite as topsy turvey as I thought I would be based on previous experience. Perhaps that is the time of arrival and knowing that there is just a short time before crashing on the bed ! Who knows ?

So after sorting my room out, getting to grips with the free phone and all its wifi intricacies and finally sorting out my fridge and coffee maker I decided to treat myself to a meal in the Chinese cafe at the hotel. As you can imagine it is very rice heavy........I was so hungry and so exhausted I threw culinary caution to the wind and ordered a mixed vegetable curry ( most of which I had never seen?), served with gorgeous fluffy Malaysian steamed rice all served with Chinese Luk Yu fragrant tea. The blood numbers will soar in a couple of hours but I will keep drinking and drinking water to try and dilute the glucose !

That's it though - back to what's best for me tomorrow. I plan one light lunch at the wonderful Peninsula Hotel on my whole day off, and that will be my future sin.

My vices are quite sadly feeble really !

Flying in to the airport in the sea over Lantau Island

Sin number 1 of 2..........delish


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