United Airlines flight 117 begins at Newark Liberty International Airport, 10 miles from my home in Jersey City, and ends in Hong Kong, 8065 miles away. It’s the eighth-longest flight route in operation, and if you’re a restless flyer—and I am a terribly restless flyer—there’s nothing good about it, save the small cup of mango sorbet that follows dinner. I boarded the plane on Thursday afternoon feeling like a normal human being; I staggered off nearly 16 hours later feeling, as they said in Ghostbusters, like the floor of a taxi cab.
But when I did finally deplane … I was in Hong Kong! A place that I love but never seem to linger in very long—and this trip was no exception. I’m here for work. I had a few hours on Saturday morning to wander around before our program got going, so I did a handful of my favorite Hong Kong things:
… walked through Wan Chai and enjoyed the languid pace of city street life on an unrelentingly hot and humid June morning;
… lingered in Pacific Coffee as I staved off a nap with a cup of their brew;
… sat at a tiny table with five strangers and ate an egg sandwich and iced milk tea at the Capital Café cha chaan teng for lunch;
… bought a precious bag of Crispy M&Ms—the best M&Ms, no longer available in the U.S. but still sold in Hong Kong—at one of the 7-Eleven stores that populates nearly every block of the city;
… watched the narrow double-decker trams shudder and jolt their way through the streets, as they have since 1904;
… listened to people speaking Cantonese everywhere I went, often feeling like my Mandarin-tuned ears could almost understand them, but not quite.
And then it was time to go back to the hotel and start working. We leave for Mainland China tonight.
Catch you next time, Hong Kong.