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Shanghai, Hong Kong and Delhi
By Mikey
Sunday, 14th November 2004 10:23

We had directions to find the airport shuttle bus that would have been easier to follow if there hadn't been as many elevated roads around us. It still only took us fifteen minutes though and then we were on our way. The journey to Pudong airport took about 90 minutes in all but that was why we set our alarm so early. We had to wait 45 minutes to check in as the counter wasn't open but that gave us time to have breakfast.

The flight was uneventful and in Shenzhen we found a bus that would take us from the airport all the way to Wan Chai in Hong Kong, just next to Causeway Bay where we had stayed before. Unfortunately the Alisan Guesthouse was full for the one night that we were due to spend in Hong Kong so I had called another guesthouse on a road that I knew ran through Wan Chai and Causeway Bay. This way, at least we'd know roughly where we were in Hong Kong. During our bus journey though it dawned on me that we had left our guide book in the hostel and I hadn't made a note of the address or name of the guesthouse that we'd booked with. Doh!

The bus dropped us in Wan Chai but I wasn't 100% sure where we were or where we needed to get to. I thought that the guesthouse was at number 543 and while Claire waited with the bags I went to check how far along the road we were. It turned out that we were quite a long way away and we still couldn't remember the name of the guesthouse. I went over the road to ask in a local travel agent but spotted a book shop on my way. Luckily they had the same guidebook that we'd left behind and after retrieving the name and address, I put it back in the plastic wrapper and back on the shelf. The number was actually 531, I was close but in Hong Kong there are so many signs around that we would have never found the place.

The guesthouse was just round the corner from where we had stayed before so we knew exactly where we were when we got there. We had our first double bed since Raffles and it was quite comfy too. Some of the beds recently have been a bit too hard to sleep on.

After spending some time in our favourite internet bar we sought out a restaurant that we'd been to previously and ate lots of yummy food.

Friday was a busy but enjoyable day. We woke up late and had a sandwich for breakfast. We changed our remaining Chinese money into US dollars and gave our Octopus cards back. Then we checked out of our room, left our luggage to pick up later, bought a rather heavy Mahjong set and headed to the post office. There we finally posted our Hong Kong postcards (you might notice that they have two dates on them) and sent home two big boxes.

About 14 kilos lighter, we checked our email and went to watch Ladder 49. It wasn't really that good, I preferred Backdraft. It may not have helped that a man in front of us kept getting paged all the way through the film but the film still would have been mediocre without that annoyance.

We had some of those lovely cold beef rolls in the Vietnamese restaurant again for supper along with a big bowl of noodle soup. Then we waited for an airport bus to roll past and we were off. It should only have taken about 50 minutes to reach the airport but the traffic was very, very heavy to start of with. We still got there in plenty of time and settled in for our six hour flight to Delhi.

Another uneventful flight really. The take off was perhaps a bit odd. No sooner had we left the ground (and I mean straight away) then the engines were throttled right back and I wondered for a moment if something was wrong. Maybe the plane was emptier than I thought, although the size and number of suitcases that some passengers had checked in wouldn't support that theory. In the end we just flew away and I had some cold red wine and watched a couple of films until it was time to land.

Delhi's Indira Ghandi International airport claims to be the second busiest in India but if it is I'd hate to land at a busy time of day. Our plane was twenty minute or so late and so we ended up behind a plane load of passengers from Frankfurt in the immigration queue. Two planes worth of people and only a handful of immigration desks doesn't look inviting when you're at the back of the queue. No one seemed to object too much though as we squeezed forwards. Too often have the best sunbeds been reserved by German towels. In the name of every over polite, happy to queue, British holidaymaker, we got revenge.

Safely through customs we got some rupees and paid for a taxi to take us to our hotel. Not far into the journey, the driver brought up the subject of some nice hotels that he knew. We quickly quashed his thoughts on that one. Next up he tried to commit us to using him as a tour guide and transportation for the following day. We explained that we were tired and we'd get up when we were ready and sort things out then. Next, he claimed not to know where our hotel was. He may have been telling the truth but I doubt it. Most of the airport hotels are along one stretch of road and he challenged us to spot ours. He then started hinting that we could stay elsewhere. We persisted and eventually we were dropped off where we wanted to be.

It was 3am by this point and we had to wake up the poor man behind the reception desk. He cheerfully got us checked in and even offered us Diwali sweets. We had no idea that it was Diwali. That was about all I remember. It was 5.30am Hong Kong time and way past my bedtime!

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