Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How I Almost Got Quarantined In Hong Kong!

I'm running out of stories to post about my trip to Hong Kong!

Tomorrow will mark two weeks since I've been home and I guess it is time to stop looking backward and time to start looking forward to Christmas and another possible visit.

I was going to post all about the two magnificent and cheap Indonesian meals that duriandave and I had but, alas, I accidentally deleted the photos from the second meal.

Here's a shot of our lunch at the first place which was only about US$5 per person and better than the one Indonesian restaurant in the D.C. area!

But I'm guessing the story of how I almost didn't get into Hong Kong is probably worth recounting as well.

As the plane ride over was going to be the longest I had ever been on up to that moment in my life, I was worried that I was going spend most of it sweating. Sweating is a big worry for me!

My fears were unwarranted as the plane was freezing! It was like every air nozzle was wide open and I could feel my skin drying up under the cool, crisp air for 14 hours as I watched Hotel for Dogs and that Zac Effron movie.

So by the time the plane landed, I had the sniffles for real. And that meant that I, trying to be Mr. Honest, put down "runny nose" on the little Hong Kong Department of Health questionnaire that the flight staff had passed out to us prior to landing.

Hey, I didn't want to walk off the plane and stagger through Customs with a Kleenex up to my nose and get spotted by the officials and shuffled off to a doctor, right?

Well, I did get shuffled off to a doctor. Sort of.

I made it out of one section and the guard at the final section of this section -- it's all a blur now -- read my little questionnaire and said in broken English, "No. You need to go here." Mostly he just pointed that out to me but the meaning was clear.

Next thing I knew I was being led by another guy in a surgical mask down the same escalator I had just ridden up and pointed to a makeshift clinic set-up in the basement of the airport. By now, I had been given my own surgical mask which was making me sweat a bit more -- that and precious little sleep over the last 14 hours and my general fear that I wasn't going to be able to enter Hong Kong were not soothing my already frazzled nerves.

I was proceeded by one other Chinese woman and a stunning (!), blond Russian woman in a sweatsuit who explained to me in adorably Russian-accented English: "I just go out for drinks with friends, get cough. That is all."

So they took me back, took my temperature via the ear, and gave me the "all clear" pass/form which you see below, pinned next to my House of Fury poster; Anthony Wong seems to be giving me a Gandalf-like "None shall pass!" doesn't he?

Another guard directed me out of the clinic but first pointed to the Russian woman, still waiting for her turn in the clinic, to ask: "Is she with you?"

And I, eternally the idiot, said Costanza-like: "Her? No, we're not together" with a dismissive wave of the hand.

I could be counting my rubles in Hong Kong right about now if I had been a bit quicker on the draw, eh?