Headlines for Wednesday:

  1. In transit (415 words)
  2. At the Hong Kong International Airport (125 words)
  3. Best thing to do at the HKIA (32 words)



1. In transit: 19:53

There's a certain kind of sadness among standby passengers. I've overheard stories of missed connections and early-morning vigils, long-distance calls to tell family that they might be back early on a standby flight but that the family shouldn't go to the airport yet because it was just a number on a piece of paper, not a boarding pass, not a guarantee.

A woman's flight reservations could not be found anywhere in the system. The airline agent flipped through all the papers and receipts the woman received from a travel agency in Iowa, but was firm: no ticket, no flight. It wouldn't be the first or last time a travel agency's missed something in the rush and stress of holidays. The woman is advised to buy another ticket and ask the travel agency for a refund. I don't know if she'll be able to afford to. I don't know how responsive the travel agency will be.

It's always hard travelling, especially on flights going home. Looking around at the airport lobby and guessing who's scraped and saved to earn enough for a ticket home, who hasn't been home in a year or two--or a decade or two. Hearing them speak, argue, plead. Watching the airline agents, seeing exasperation flash across their faces until they school their expressions into at least curtness.

I would've been on the next flight out of here, number 12 in what will no doubt be a very long line by the day's end. There's plenty of time for me to watch and learn, though. My luggage couldn't be found in time to get me onto the next flight. I've asked them to keep looking for it; maybe I'll make it to the next flight. Or the flight after that. Two more flights before my confirmed trip home, two more chances to share more time with family and friends than with all these strangers in an airport.

I savor the chocolate truffles a friend gave to me, letting them melt. I don't know how long I'll need to make the truffles last. It seems almost cruel to use them to get me through the hours and the sadness--these chocolates deserve more than that!--and incongruous to lift them out of the gold foil box in the middle of all these little tragedies and trials. There is nothing else I can do but wait.

The tinny jingles playing over the public announcement system remind me that it is Christmas, and I will be home soon.

2. At the Hong Kong International Airport: 21:17

I'm at the Hong Kong International Airport, and have just polished off breakfast. I have four hours before I need to check with the transfer desk about chance passage on the next flight to the Philippines. What would be the best way to spend that time?

I could take a shower. That would be nice. USD 10.00 for the privilege of feeling nice and clean, hmm. I don't have any extra clothes right now, though.

Shopping is boring.

I think I'll write my letters for 2006. I've got my writing stuff, anyway. =) I can address and stuff the envelopes, and then get to work on writing notes...

Maybe I'll write in my journal, too. I've got quite a lot of stuff to think about...

3. Best thing to do at the HKIA: 21:24

... is to park yourself in a chair and use the free wifi to chat with friends. =D

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