A New Year's Eve Ode to Hong Kong International Airport
But I've never been a huge fan of New Years' Eve and the world's sentimentality for it, as if this one particular day should symbolize something profound. From what I can tell, it's about going to some party with a million people you don't know, or even like, pretending to be thrilled about sharing a special moment. Afterwards, driving home is a life or death version of dodge ball in your car as you try to avoid drunk drivers.
So I had no desire to reflect on all these events with my new friends New Orleans. I was content to have my December 31st be a start a new journey, of 8,000 miles to be exact, which was why I found myself at the Hong Kong International Airport on that day.
Though I was relieved to be headed out of there, my 15 hour flight to Hong Kong was, well, a 15 hour flight on a major carrier with about 500 people whose body odor, illnesses, and snoring patterns I grew well-acquainted with. And don't forget the crying babies. I surely couldn't, and managed to get about three and a half hours of sleep, even with the aid of over-the-counter sleeping pills.
And that is when I read what I now believe are the three most beautiful words in the English language: Premium Plaza Lounge. I had heard about these things before but thought them only legend. That is, until I walked through that romantically-lit doorway, greeted by immaculately groomed and attractive attendants, who welcomed me in cheerful Hong Kong English. The place was laden with large, modern yet plush-looking leather couches and arm chairs. There was a full bar, a handful of large flat-screen tv's, an internet cafe, and an all-you-can-eat hot noodle bar and buffet. The lady at the counter explained that I could check into my own room with a bed and private shower for 6 hours and stay in the lounge for longer, food and other amenities included.
I consider myself a fairly frugal traveler, staying in hostels more often than not, paying for bus rides over taxis when I can. But at that moment, I could not hand the lady my $120.00 fast enough. My room had the look of an exclusive spa and the bed was an extra-wide massage table with starch white linens. I immediately stripped my body of its airplane-marinated clothing, took a hot shower in my slate-tiled bathroom, shut the lights, and collapsed on the bed. And slept. And slept. It was that kind of sleep earned from a long, tiresome journey. It was no matter that the bed was narrow; I could have rolled right off and crashed onto the bamboo flooring without cracking an eye lid. On December 31st, 2010, when 11:59pm came and went, a fleet of wild horses could not have dragged me out of my deep and peaceful slumber.
I woke up on New Year's Day. The kinks of pain in my body had vanished. I lapped up a couple bowls of hot noodles, which, on New Years, is good luck in Chinese and Vietnamese culture. I leaned back into the comfy, leather armchair and began mentally reviewing the events of 2010: I recently heard that one ex-boyfriend moved back to his parents and remains there still, and just yesterday I saw that the other moved to another mountain state and started seeing someone new, from the looks of it (at least on facebook) completely unlike me and entirely more appropriate for him. I also heard that the agency director of ill-repute, for many reasons, is in the process of being relieved of her post against her will. As for me, a new job, new friends, New Orleans. And there I was sitting in Hong Kong, well-rested with a noodle-filled tummy, well-prepared to greet my day which eventually would finish in Manila in the arms of a good friend I hadn't seen in six years, on the day before her wedding. Finally, things are starting to be to be as they should.
Happy New Year's dearest reader, I hope your 31st was as blissful as mine in Hong Kong International. May 2011 bring us all better days.