Stranded in Hong Kong

So, once we finally get to the airport, say our goodbyes, and get on the airplane, you would think that it would be smooth sailing from there. False. We sat on the airplane wondering when we would take off for about 3 or 4 hours. Hong Kong weather was going haywire, and our captain had no idea when we would be able to leave. Heck, air traffic control didn’t know when we would get to leave. Eventually, we got into the air and made it into Hong Kong at 5pm.

We got our carry-on bags and hurried off the plane to try and make it to our next point – someone who would tell us what to do next. As we talked with some of the attendants, another American that was trying to get onto the same connecting flight to LAX informed us that when our plane had landed, our connecting flight had taken off with standby ticket people in our seats.

We followed two different ladies, and our group ended up being split into two separate lines. We moved to the line for Cathay Pacific. Once we got to the front of the line, we were told that they couldn’t do anything to help us because our starting ticket was through Dragon Air, not Cathay. So, we moved to a line at Dragon Air. Some waited in one line, and I waited in the other. Chaos ensued. We all got to the point of..just give us a flight back to the States. New York, Chicago, LA…just get us back there. And give connecting flights to get to where we need to go from there. Just get us back to the States. We almost got somewhere. And then the booking system crashed.

They apologized profusely and said that they would be putting us up in a hotel for the night. We got stickers to put on, and we got to go through customs. Another Hong Kong stamp for our passport. We followed this lady to where the hotel shuttles are, followed a guy to another place where we would wait once again. Our hotel shuttle finally showed up, and an hour later we were in a Royal Garden hotel. It is 9:50pm. We are given meal vouchers for dinner, breakfast, and lunch along with our room keys. They front desk informs us that dinner would be served on the 3rd floor at 10:15pm.

Checking into the hotel

Checking into the hotel

Steph and I went to our room, dropped off our stuff, and then we headed downstairs to meet up with everyone for dinner. Dinner was amazing. There was all sorts of food – good food. And dessert was amazing. Tiramisu, mousse, brownie things, a huge chocolate fondue fountain with marshmallows and cream puffs to dip in it, as well as a Haagen Daz ice cream bar. I think that everyone had at least two plates of food and then one or more plates of dessert. It was a great way to end the night and have all of us relax after a crazy day.

Kaylee, Janelle, Kevin

Kaylee, Janelle, Kevin

Stephanie

Stephanie

Jesse and Chase

Jesse and Chase

We woke up early and met downstairs at 5:30am the next morning. When we checked out and turned in our remaining meal vouchers, they handed us sandwiches and orange juice since we would be missing breakfast on the 3rd floor at 6am. We rode back to the airport, and thus began day two of trying to get home.

Headed back to the airport to try and get home

Headed back to the airport to try and get home

And we don't care

And we don’t care

Chase and I gave up on the lines after a while. We sat on the floor with everyone’s bags and recorded several videos as a form of stress relief.

Working out connecting flights

Working out connecting flights

DSC04730

Quinn is done beyond done

Quinn is done beyond done

After 4 1/2 hours of running around, being sent in circles, and standing in multiple lines, all of us FINALLY got tickets to LAX on a flight that would be leaving at 12:55pm.

We have tickets!

We have tickets!

We made it through security, got another stamp in our passport, emailed our families, got some starbucks for the wait, and then *finally* made it onto the plane which landed up in LAX on April 21, 2012 at 10:40am. It was an extremely long day.

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Still in Hong Kong

Saturday was our free day. All of us and Tim (the program assistant) took the ferry over to Macau for the day. The way Macau was described to us before we left was that Macau is the Las Vegas of China. So many people. And a lot of casinos.

All of us went to an international church in Hong Kong yesterday. After that, a group of us went to the Botanical Gardens. They were beautiful, but there was so much rain!

Class has been moving super fast. It is a lot to absorb, but I really like it. I like getting to learn Chinese. There is a lot to memorize. But that is true with any language. We have our first quiz for Chinese on Thursday. There is a lot of information to take in. We leave on Wednesday, January 18th for Xiamen.

I’m really enjoying it here and the group I’m here with is great. I’m the baby of the group, which is kind of strange. I’m not used to being the youngest. But it’s kind of fun. I’m not the one that has to make the decisions on where we go or what we do. I let all of them figure it out and I’ll go with them.

Today we had class starting at 8:30am and we ended around 11:30am. Lunch was at 12pm. And I’m am done for the day. Class-wise anyway. I need to get a few hours of studying in, though, so I think I’m going to go do that right now.

Next time I make an update, I’ll be in Xiamen!

Hong Kong

Annnnd we are in Hong Kong! It is Thursday at 4:30pm. And it is barely morning for those of you in the States, weird. I am really excited about everything here. Yesterday we got a welcome class and then we went around downtown Hong Kong after riding the MTR (it’s a metro/transportation system). We walked around a mall. Went through a market and also a wet market. Really interesting to see. And sooo excited about the food here. I bought a green tea roll filled with cream and red bean paste at one of the bakeries last night, which I had for breakfast this morning. YUM!

We had our first Chinese class this morning. And this afternoon was a lot of getting to know each other better. We are “done for the day”. As of right now, most of us are sitting outside of the cafeteria on the wifi typing away. I got to teach two people in the group a little bit about Tumblr email posting. After this, we’re going to take the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui, watch the laser show that takes place from the harbor and go to the night market. It’s Janelle’s birthday today. She just turned 21, and so tonight is going to be a birthday celebration!

We have a few more days of introductory classes for Chinese and Intercultural Communication here at the YMCA camp here in Hong Kong. Fun fact: in Hong Kong and China, the YMCA is associated with and is used by Christians.

I am loving it here so far. It’s really busy and fast paced. It really feels like camp at this point. Or even like freshman orientation, which felt like camp. It is a lot to take in and I am looking forward to everything that we are going to learn and see. I’ll try to keep you all updated as often as I can! 🙂