Friday, June 26, 2015

Hong Kong and Cebu

Hello from the Philippines! 

During my 9 hour layover in Hong Kong

It’s been a mad journey to get here from South Africa so far, from being sandwiched between one belching and one farting passenger on the long-haul flight from SA to Hong Kong, a 9 hour layover in Hong Kong International Airport, a two hour flight delay to reach Cebu in the Philippines and then finally after over 48 hours of pure travel checking in to a swanky hotel for the evening. I literally sunk into the bed like it was a marshmallow… after bathing in this ginormous tub wrapped in marble.

I’ll start my highlights from the beginning. 
It truly amazes me just how helpful, friendly and warm people are to you while your traveling. In the past two days I made some lovely travel friends by complete accident. One was this wild purple-haired Jozzie girl on her way to LA. We got chatting in the queue as we waited to board the flight to Hong Kong and instantly hit it off. We spoke about what we imagined Hong Kong to be like and where we were off to. It was a great way to ease the riddled nerves because I’m not sure if you know this but no matter how often I catch flights around the world, that doesn’t make flying any less daunting for me. Yip…. I am 100% absolutely petrified of planes. Once on board we parted ways, being seated in different aisles on the plane and never saw each other again. 
I did see three lovely glasses of complimentary white wine though (also a fabulous easer for the nerves) and got stuck into season 21 of America’s Next Top Model. 
I flew with Cathay Pacific and was totally impressed right from the start. The Chinese air-hostesses are gorgeous and classy, extremely helpful and wonderful. 
The food! I've never enjoyed airplane food so much! We had a choice out of three equally delicious meals, I chose a steamed jasmine rice chicken curry with cashew nuts. Amazing!
The onboard entertainment was great, with some of the latest films (for South Africa anyway…) like The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. There were so many great TV shows to choose from too and games like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (I managed to score 8,000.00 Pounds but then got a question wrong and left with only 1,000. Sniff.).
Gigantic spicy Korean lunch
Finally arriving in Hong Kong International Airport, it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Having been in Singapore airport (jaw-dropping) I’d imagined Hong Kong’s airport to be somewhat similar. I found it to be pretty boring actually. The shops were minimal as were the choices in places to eat. I finally cozied down at The Food Plaza where I ordered a spicy Korean noodle dish. Be warned!!! It comes in a portion big enough to feed a family of four or more! It's pretty pricey but for the size it's worth it! Especially if you're lucky enough to be traveling with someone and you can share it, if you aren't a germ-a-phob or anything...

They also didn’t have knives and forks so I spent the better part of two hours slurping up my noodles one strand at a time. I think the Chinese people all around me were cackling in their heads at my inability to pick anything up. 
After about five hours of my layover, the jet lag finally got the better of me so I wondered off to a row of waiting seats and spread myself out across it, sleeping on my bags because I was traveling alone and didn't want anything being tampered with while I had a kip. 

The jetlag was rough...

I’d been trying really hard to not go into duty free no matter how minimalistic it seemed because my holiday hadn’t even begun yet - but honestly, after seven hours there is literally nothing else to do. Michael Kors’ and Marc Jacobs’ names lured me into the first shop where I drooled for the longest time over purses and handbags that I knew i couldn’t afford. A girl can dream though, right? 

Duty Free
That's one thing I found about Hong Kong - it is ridiculously expensive. A normal coffee cost me R 50.00 which is probably not much for people earning dollars or pounds, I think it's less than 50p for you guys, but for us that's criminal! The exchange rate for us South African's is dismal. 

Eventually after nearly nine hours of waiting my gate number to board my flight to the Philippines was released and I made my way to board the plane. Disappointment flooded through me when I realised the flight had been delayed for an hour so I went to the nearest restaurant by gate 65, I think it was called Nosh, and ordered a take away glass of wine. Yes! Take away wine!!!
While I sipped on my plastic cup of icy white wine I got chatting to what I’d thought was a Philippines mother and daughter. They were so sweet and interested right from the start. The husband came to find them after a while and it turns out he’s Norwegian, married to this incredible Filipino woman, so their daughter was the most interesting mixture. 
Anyway… this Filipino woman took me under her wing as her own for the duration of the flight into Philippines and then even escorted me to my hotel across the street, making sure I was safe and checked in before they headed on their way. I am overwhelmed by her kindness and am so grateful that there are people like that in the world. I wish I’d taken their names and kept in touch, but the jetlag was still destroying me and all I could think of was bed. 

To have a bath and wash after two days of travel was heavenly. My shoulders were aching from lugging my 8kg suitcase around with me everywhere I went. God knows what I've put in there... I'm almost positive my dads hidden a couple of bricks in the secret pockets just to laugh at me! :)

The bed, as I already told you about, was literal heaven. No exaggeration. The definition of class, comfort and relaxation. 
The hotel I stayed at was right across the road from the Mactan Cebu Airport, at the Waterfront. I'm really disappointed that I didn't get more time there. They have an after hours spa, live musicians, a casino, a pool and a menu that looked mouth-watering. The staff were just perfect. I've only spent a handful of hours in the Philippines so far but people here are so much more friendly and helpful than anywhere else in the world. It's also HOT! Like, really hot, which I LOVE!!! I'm a bit of a warmth-whore. Whether it be the sun, a fireplace, a heater, an electric blanket, a water-bottle, a sauna room... that's when I'm at my happiest. Warm.
I'd been checking out the weather forecast for days and the temperatures read 26-29 degrees but it honestly feels like 35+. It's so humid, I wasn't expecting it at all.
Blissed out completely....

*The hotel only accepts credit cards or Philippine Pesos though so if you stay there make sure to convert your dollars to Pesos beforehand. 

That about wraps it up to this point. I’m now sitting back in the Cebu airport after a 4am wake-up call to catch my flight to a paradise island an hour away. 
My flights been delayed for over two hours - pretty pissed because I could have used the extra couple of hours sleep and perhaps a swim in the hotel pool I didn’t even get a chance to see… but travel is unpredictable and such is life. 

I’ll updated you all again soon. 

Love from Cebu.

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  1. Oooh, fun so far!!! You must've been so tired after the journey! I felt like that on my way to Indonesia for the first time! Those noodles look tasty! Perhaps you could buy a fork somewhere to keep on you just in case the chop stick thing happens again!x

  2. Love this! ♥
    You are making me jealous, pretty!

  3. Cannot wait for the next update! Sounds like you are really having hun x
    Jess x

  4. YAY for your adventure. I am going to catch up with all your travels. Have fun in Cebu!!!!!!

  5. This travel leg of your journey sounds exhausting. Glad you're doing well tho. Xo

  6. Jade... wow, really intersting so far. I'm so happy you met some great people along the way. I want to travel so much, I'm sure the jet lag will get to me but it will be so worth it to see so many sites xox ♡ (safe and fun travels)

  7. I hope you have fun in Cebu ! I visited the Philippines two years ago and it still by far my most memorable place that I have been to (:


  8. Sounds like you are off on a great adventure. I will live vicariously through you with your travel posts. I hope you have a wonderful time!

  9. That room must have been amazing after all of that travel! I love meeting genuine and sweet people in different parts of the country/ world. It reminds you that some people are just really nice even if they don't get a thing out of it. It sounds like quite the adventure so far!


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