Alex and I left at the break of dawn Sunday morning, discovering upon arrival at the airport that for some reason, we needed to provide a credit card to ensure out travel to LA and then Hong Kong.
"Do you have the credit card used to book these tickets?"
"Where is it?"
"Probably at a hotel in Vietnam, right now."
I nervously explained that the folks had been travelling for weeks already, and us "kids" were flying out to meet them. After waking my mother up and providing the 3 digit security code to "Cheryl", we were handed our tickets. As we jetted away, Alex turned back to Cheryl. "But we're upgraded right?"
Ah yes, priorities.
The flight to LA was uneventful, save for it arriving late. Our flight to Hong Kong left at 12:10. At 11:50, we were still on the tarmac, waiting to dock at our goddamn gate. Alex and I must have looked like terrorists, swearing and freaking out and pushing babies out of our way as we RAN through LAX, only to discover that our connecting flight had been pushed back anyway.
We found a bar and had Bloody Marys.
Finally boarded, I made last minute texts to friends and my boss, including my mother assuring her that we were indeed physically on a plane bound for Hong Kong, we'd be an hour late and we were being handed menus.
As the flight attendant passed us champagne, she checked us off her list.
"Mr. and Mrs. Spotswood?"
"Oh god, no!" I screamed. "We're bother and sister."
Now, I don't really give a shit if some flight attendant thinks a guy and gal who are basically the same age and have the same last name are married. I do give a shit about the gorgeous, mysterious,technology laden guy in 12c, right across the aisle from us. Clearly on business, he was wearing fabulous jeans and designer black separates, with a very cool laptop and a half-finished copy of the Life of Pi. I whispered over to Alex, "That guy next to you is cute."
"Really?" My brother asked. "I heard him talk. He might be British."
Cue the next 15 hours of me stalking 12c from 10 feet away.
We shared 14 moments of extended eye contact and a brief yet meaningful smile over his shithead seatmate who refused to lower his shade, but that's the extent of my love connection with 12c.
I mean, we ARE in the same city. How big can Hong Kong be?
Finally landed and through customs, we were accosted at the airport by illegal taxi drivers who physically solicit you by blocking your path and drowning you in cheap cologne. Alex wisely noted that our hotel had a kiosk at the airport and inquired as to how we got the hell out of there.
"Sir, may I show you?"
This poor guy walked us all over the place, handing us our hotel business card in Chinese for the driver and instructing us to take only RED cabs. This proved very easy, as it turns out red cabs mean you're staying in the city limit ts. Blue and Green ones mean you're headed for the 'burbs.
Exhaling in the cab, Alex looked over at me. "This might sound racist, but I thought they were painted red for...you know, luck."
We walked into our hotel to an orchestra playing from the balcony and 473 bellmen fawning over our bags. It took seconds to check in and the concierge swung us by our folks room to say hello.
My father had even purchased a bottle of Grey Goose for the occasion.
After a drink and a quick chat, we headed out for a late dinner. It was 10pm at this point and we were exhausted yet starving. Sitting down to dinner and drinks, my folks start in on their stories. They've been traveling in Southeast Asia for over 2 weeks and had a ton they couldn't wait to tell us. Like how my father was solicited on two separate occasions by prostitutes. The latter solicitation was so horrifying, Alex and I stopped him halfway through his story. Needless to say, even in fancy hotels, massages in Bangkok are massages in Bangkok.
Alex and I crashed at about midnight, having been up for 27 hours. I can't sleep on planes, but if I did, I'd like to think I'd sleep like 12c, silent and perfect with his little eye-mask and iPod.
Okay, okay. Enough.
We both were wide awake by 5am this morning and watched the Simpsons until breakfast was served at 7, enjoying a buffet of traditional American specialties, dim sum and salumi on brioche. Curious, yet fabulous.
Full from our bizarre meal, Alex and I decided to go for a walk, spending about 2 hours roaming Hong Kong, ending up in disgusting yet fascinating fish and meat markets, parks filled with oldies doing tai chi and 13 7/11's.
7/11 is to Hong Kong as Starbucks is to San Francisco.
It's also amazing to see these insane apartment buildings that look like they're going to fall over from the combination of filth, hanging laundry and neon signs. The signs jut out over the street, crashing into each other somewhere in the middle. We also saw tons of children on their way to school in perfect little uniforms and neckties. We're now back at the hotel, my only plans being to meet my mother for high tea and then hit the Temple Street Night Market before our ferry ride to dinner.
That's all I have to report. We're safe and sound, having been here for 12 hours. The weather's gorgeous, everyone looks the same, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Am I missing any scandals?