Monday, May 03, 2004

a long overdue post: tripping around

Day 1
Am at the airport really early for a 10am flight because I was just dropped off before work. Grudgingly spend PhP555 on a copy of Premiere magazine, albeit a good issue, because it lists the 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. Had a good read, actually; and there were also some interesting articles about the Sundance filmfest, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (soon to drop the -Stamos), a sober and cleaned-up Dennis Quaid, and a whole lot of new movies. Ah, my Hollywood interest has been rekindled.

I leave Manila with 14.5kg worth of baggage (and that's not emotional baggage, mind you). For a three-day trip, some of you might think that quite excessive. However, aside from a few clothes, I was also transporting around fifteen graphic novels for Ger as part of a phase-by-phase transfer of his extensive collection.

We have reservations at the Excelsior, and my fellow awardee Ma'am L and I are in separate rooms. Am glad, because I will have very little to talk about with her during meals and trips out--what more sharing a room! Am assigned a relatively good junior suite, although it has a wonderful view of--the other tall buildings at the back of the building. Haha. We rest for a while and I go exploring. Apparently we are in the posh part of town--all the boutiques and everything. I remember the last time I was there and how we avoided Causeway Bay like the plague because it was where all the snooty shops were. Dinner was spent with Ma'am L and Ger; then we tried the night market at Mong Kok although we weren't able to find many bargains.

Day 2
It's the big day. Ma'am L and I start it off with breakfast buffet at the hotel. We call it brunch and then head out to the Wan Chai wet market, which yields a couple of steals (relatively passable bags for HK$10--good pasalubong for the helpers, candies by the pound). Back to the office to prepare for the company tour, but I stole a few minutes to explore Times Square, that sprawling edifice-cum-mall. Was able to buy Mango shirts for my sisters in styles that, I was told when I came back, weren't available in the Phils yet. Yay me! Office tour was alright, although a bit tiring because the office was quite big. After the office tour we headed back to the hotel; I made a side trip and looked for a parlor so that I could have my hair blowdried before the big dinner...

Basis: Ri's regular shampoo and blowdry at Red Salon: PhP198
These were the prices I encountered
* Salon in the hotel: HK$180 (at FX rate of HK$1 = PhP7, that's PhP1,260, the cost of a cartridge of original HP colored ink and way too much for a shampoo and blowdry)
* Salon outside the hotel, near Sogo: HK$48 (PhP336 -- ok it's near Jesi Mendez price)
* Salon 15 mins walk from the hotel (nearing Wan Chai already): HK$23 (PhP161! Cheaper than at home! Woohoo!)
It's just really a bit of a walk although everyone walks thereabouts; it's just here that I take a car to go to the salon which is less than 10 minutes' walk away.

The recognition dinner was great. During the trip from the hotel, we saw the tent of Louis Vuitton's 150th anniversary, lit up to resemble LV luggage. The dinner was at the American Club at a penthouse somewhere in the Central district, in the heart of HK's business center. The Central district all lit up at night is a heartening sight--just forget the congestion and the traffic (maybe caused by Louis Vuitton). At the dinner, there were 10 courses served. Some of them I didn't particularly relish, although most of them were good. The highlight of the evening was being able to meet the CEOs from the different countries (most of them old Caucasian dudes) and chatting up with them. Of course each of us was made to say a few words and I'm glad that I was able to come up with a witty impromptu speech of sorts. It had been a good night, although it was raining in HK and the temperature was down to a nippy 14 degrees. Wonderful--that's colder than our airconditioner gets on regular days.

Day 3
Start the day off with a headache and sleep in till about 10:30am. Apparently was a portent of things to come. Started raining quite hard while was walking around in Sogo and Causeway Plaza looking for a gift for my mom. Settled on perfume from Sasa because I was getting really tired and the bags were a bit pricey. Checked out and met Ger to take a look-see at his flat in Ap Lei Chau (sp.?). Was quite apprehensive about the time because the airport shuttle would leave the hotel at 3pm and at 2:30pm we were still at his place. And the bus took so long to arrive! But I did make it to the hotel at 3pm, and said goodbye to Ger.

I was asleep most of the commute to the airport. And then when I got to the airport, I reached into my bag to get my passport and... no ticket. Ah... wonderful. I searched high and low but it really wasn't anywhere to be found. It's a good thing that a PAL ground crew person (who was not Filipino by the way) Amy Kan, was able to coordinate with the hotel and they found my ticket in the rubbish bin--or so they say! Why would I throw my ticket in the trashcan?! Anyway I got to thinking that while packing the ticket had probably fallen off the side of something and was later retrieved when they did the housekeeping. But thank goodness, because I would have had to buy a one-way ticket worth HK$1,680 if I were unable to locate the ticket! That would have really made a dent in the fund for the new PC. To have the hotel send the ticket over would have cost HK$700... still a considerable price. I'm so glad that Ger was in transit (I still am apologetic to his friend Mark for cutting short their "date"... teehee...) and he was able to pick it up for me and bring it to the airport. I didn't make my flight, though, so I still had to reschedule my flight to the tune of HK$200, a price I paid gladly. Lunch/dinner with Ger (we had forgotten to eat lunch) and a panda stuffed toy for C later, the ordeal was over.

Leaving HK, I still had 14.5kg of baggage. It was just funny that it was exactly the same weight.

The biggest thing for this trip: I didn't take any pictures. Oh well.

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