Day 1 (P.M.) - 29 May 2011 (KL - Hongkong - Beijing)
1;25 p.m. - A thick haze greeted us as we touched down in Hongkong International airport. If we thought the haze was an ominous sign, we were spot on!!!
As our flight was somewhat delayed, a CP staff ushered us hurriedly before the security check point. We were flabbergasted when the Hong Kong airport staff rudely screamed at our group. I reckoned some of the staff at the Security checkpoint at Hong Kong International airport could either be suffering from depression, enduring serious PMS, or they're born psychotic!!! They were barking at us in a high-pitched tone, like as if they were suffering from dementia. That was a far cry from New Zealand or anywhere else for that matter. The Hongkees were devoid of any greetings, let alone a smile!!!
As our connecting flight to Beijing was at 2:00 p.m. and by the time, the scowling and psychotic security personnel cleared us, it was close to 1:50 p.m.
I had never walked (tearing and dashing were more like it) so fast in my life in an airport!!! We were all practically sprinting to the train terminal which would take us to our Departure gate 49. I was panting and wheezing all the way. And I really pitied the 4 ladies who were part of our tour group as they were gasping for air. This was pure madness!!! It was like taking part in an Amazing Race, except that this was worse.
Once we reached the plane, the Gwailo captain announced, "We're about ready to take off, but we're missing one passenger, and the flight control just radioed to say that we're 4th in the queue and will take off only at 2:40 p.m. Gosh!!! The sprinting and the scrambling and the gasping were all for nothing!!!
Thank God the CP staff on board the flight were friendlier and sober than those at the airport!!!. I vowed not to fly via Hong Kong again, if I could help it. Just after I sat down, the CP crew came to enquire if I wanted Muslim meal.
2:40 p.m. - The plane took off for a 3-hour flight to Beijing. Muslim meal was served and the cew were courteous and friendly which made up for the shoddy treatment we received at the HK International airport.
5:45 p.m. - Arrived at Beijing International airport. Somewhat surprised that the airport was so quiet. There was hardly any passengers. Seemed like we were the only ones arriving at this spanking clean and new airport (this airport was built for use during the 2008 Olympics that was held in Beijing).
6:30 p.m. - Waited for our bags at Belt 41. 6 bags were missing (including mine and my daughter's). Were told that those bags would arrive on the next flight (7.30 p.m.).
8:15 p.m - Waited patiently but 8:15 p.m came and still no sign of the 6 missing bags. Lodged a second complaint with DragonAir. This time was told that the bags would come on a later flight. Weary and tired, we decided to adjourn to our hotel and hoped against hope that our bags would safely arrive at our hotel.
What a misdaventure!!! I've travelled rather extensively and this was my first encounter where passengers arrived without their checked-in luggage as the luggage came on another flight!!! So much for their tagline "5-star airline!!!" It's awfully ridiculous and mind boggling.
8:45 p.m - Taken to a Muslim restaurant by Jessica, our amiable tourist guide for our first meal in China. As the missing luggage was occupying my mind, I hardly ate. I had no appetite. My entire belongings were in that bag.
10:00 p.m. - Checked in into Mingdu Hotel (a 4-star outfit). My weariness slipped away as we entered the spacious room. I was pleasantly surprised by the size and the facilities offered. It was comparable to any comfortable 3-star hotel in Malaysia.
After showering, my daughter and I retired to bed. It had been a long day. As I had no clothes, I slept in my sweater. The minute my head hit the luscious and fluffy pillow, I fell asleep and forgot the day's misdaventure. I slept like a log, oblivious to the world around me, oblivious to the fact that 5 bags had been found and were delivered to the hotel as I lay soundly asleep...