8/23悲慘返台記 Disastrous Return Trip to Taipei

September 14, 2008 at 10:43 pm | Posted in 心情筆記/Journal, 旅遊遊記/Travelogue | Leave a comment

Finally I’m back in Taipei again. My trip was fun and wonderful, but the return trip was disastrous.

On Friday the 22nd, Macau and Hong Kong experience a strong Typhoon, classed at 8 in Macau and 9 in Hong Kong. All flights & ferries in and out of Macau and Hong Kong after 2 pm were cancelled and to be resceduled.

Jenny who was in Macau with me at the time was planning to fly out of Hong Kong on a Friday, August 22nd night flight. My flight wasn’t scheduled until the 23rd as I planned to spend some more time with Chemmy. We ended up spending an extra night at Anna’s even though Anna had to work graveyard shift that night.

~搦??船離開澳門的海景 連海水都變色了~ Muddy water after the typhoon.

~搭渡船離開澳門的海景 連海水都變色了~ Muddy water after the typhoon.

Overnight, the typhoon decreased and our trip home started early Saturday morning. We woke up 6ish, called the pier to find out ferries started sailing at 7. By the time we arranged a ride and made it to the ferry it was after 7. Ferries to and fro Macau & Hong Kong usually run every half hour, but the next one we found out was two hours later. at 9am. We waited in line, standing as there are no seats except for near the boarding gates. We boarded the 9am ferry and arrived around 10:30 at our destination in Kowloon, Hong Kong. We planned to get a quick bite but found out that if we waited for the food court to open we’d have to wait until 11:30, so off to the airport we headed. Jenny would have to be on standby, but my flight should be ok. We even confirmed via phone, that I was still planning to catch that flight.

Upon arriving the airport, we saw multitudes and multitudes of people. Over 400 flights in and out of Hong Kong had been affected. Basically, all flights between 8/22 14:00 ~ 8/23 08:00 had been cancelled.

~颱風過後的香港國際機場~ Line-up at Hong Kong International Airport. With the 8/22 typhoon came cancellation of over 400 flights. This is the line-up the next day. And yes, since I was on my way home, I was in that line~

~颱風過後的香港國際機場~ Line-up at Hong Kong International Airport. With the 8/22 typhoon came cancellation of over 400 flights. This is the line-up the next day. And yes, since I was on my way home, I was in that line~

We tried to find a service counter and the airport security people would only say if you are flying Cathay Pacific you need to get in line. Regardless of whether you are waitlisted or confirmed, regardless of your destination or flight time, even regardless if you are injured like me.

I got into line with our hand carry baggage from Macau while Jenny ran out to see if she could find more information. We figured at the time, I probably didn’t need to line up since my flight was ok, but Jenny would need a spot and I was holding her place and watching the stuff. We both still needed to pick up our luggage. Jenny was connecting flights from Vancouver to Taipei with an overnight stopover in Hong Kong. She had taken the ferry to Macau like I did so we could spend some time visiting with Anna and checking out Macau.

Jenny found out that even I, although my flight wasn’t until 19:55, had to be in line. Basically if people with confirmed flights hadn’t checkin at a certain time, their seats were given away to accommodate those who were waitlisted. Since the line was hours long anyway, they suggested I get in line too. So, it was a good thing I was there already.

Jenny picked up her luggage which was in storage while I made arrangements asking Chemmy to deliver my luggage to the airport for me. Both Jenny and I ended up completing our final packing while in line at the airport.

30pm 好像終於快要輪到我們了 Getting closer to the check-in/service counters.

2:30pm 好像終於快要輪到我們了 Getting closer to the check-in/service counters.

By the time we made it to the Cathay Pacific check-in counter, it was 15:25. The lady said she could put Jenny on the next flight for Taipei which was at 15:45. So off Jenny went in search of the boarding gate, only to find out after running all the way there that the boarding gate was still boarding the people for the previous flight, destination Shanghai. Hungry & thirsty, as neither of us had had a proper meal all day, she couldn’t do anything but wait. She texted me later twice to update me. The last update before take off said she was finally on board and ready to fly. That was 17:20.

Chemmy and I got together for a nice meal-of-the-day. We ordered three different items plus dessert. I was famished. I even got myself a cup of coffee. That coffee didn’t even keep me up last night~

Shortly after six, we parted ways, and I went through immigration. At this point, I still didn’t know where my boarding gate would be. I did some duty-free shopping for Jenny who didn’t have time due to her mad rush to the boarding gate, and then spent the rest of the time wandering the airport lobbies. With no clue when and where to board, I had to stay close by the announcement screens. The only place I could find seats to sit were at boarding gates where I could see the announcement screens. Therefore, every so often I’d get up to check the screen and then go in hunt of a new spot to sit. People were scattered everywhere–on the floor, in corners, in boarding gate waiting areas, in the food court and the biggest groups in front of the announcement screens. Every time I checked the board, my seat was gone.

Finally, at 20:40, I saw my boarding gate number. No. 64, which is all the way on the other end. Hong Kong airport has 80 boarding gates and those were enough to accomodate the mass rescheduling of flights due to the typhoon that hit.

I hurried off towards Gate 64, and by the time I arrived there, there was a huge line-up lined up for boarding. The process had started so I kinda stood for a moment, thinking I’d wait til the line came up rather than walk all the way around to the other end of the line on the other end of the lobby.

The gentleman behind the service counter for business class and first class passengers saw me and came up to me. He led me towards the beginning of the line and inserted my boarding card through the machine. He directed me down the hall to board my long-awaited flight. Behind me, I heard some other passengers tried to follow me through but he sent them back in line, saying I was given priority because of my injured leg.

Although on board the plane, the plane didn’t actually take off until 10:15pm. Jenny called me around 9 to say she finally landed in Taiwan. Her father was picking her up. She asked how I was going home, and I said I didn’t know, since the arrival time was still unknown. I knew buses ran until 12:30 or so, but I wasn’t sure I’d arrived yet by then. She was very sweet and said, call me when you arrive, since by then she’d be home already and could come pick me up at the airport.

I called her the moment we landed and the pilot announced safe to turn on cell phones. By the time I went to immgrations etc, and arrived outside, I only had to wait about five minutes for my ride home. I arrived home at 1:36am, August 24.

What a long long long trip~ Even with a whole cup of coffee in the day, I slept the night through~

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