We walked all throughout the Hong Kong airport at 5:30 in the morning to explore the three lounges that Cathay Pacific has at that airport. There was The Pier, The Wing, and The Cabin. We checked out all three of them and decided that The Wing was by far the biggest and nicest - and its being renovated right now to be even better! Even though The Wing was really nice, it was on the opposite side of the airport from our departing gate, so we walked the length of the airport back to The Pier, which is where we had taken our naps and had snacks the night before. This time, we were there right when it opened at 6:00am and were the only ones seated to have breakfast. This is a video that Derren took of the buffet of amazing food that was available to us: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLDd8sz0Xa0. After having a small meal, we went and sat on the couches for a short while, and I was able to say hi to mom and Amber on skype. Here's what the lounge looks like - this is a lame picture compared to how nice it actually is!
We then headed to the gate to board our next flight from Hong Kong to Singapore. This time we were flying on a Airbus 333 which unfortunately does not offer first class seating, so we were assigned business class seats. Here is what our airplane looked like for this three and a half hour flight.
And although the accomodations can't even compare to what we were spoiled with on first class in the 747, at least we had a decent amount of space, and seats that would completely flatten (aka. good napping compared to economy!) Here's what the business class seats look like on this flight. You can't see it in the picture, but there is also a foot rest that is there even when you are sitting up. And then there's a tray that pops up to eat on, and the TV pops out of the wall to be right in front of your face. The only thing I found weird was that you couldn't really see out of the windows because you are slanted to face the middle of the plane.
We were served breakfast on this flight, and, again, it can't compare to first class of course, but at least our meals were served in several courses and were plated for us. We both started with a dish of fruit (papaya, pineapple, kiwi, and strawberry) and then I had some cereal and a muffin (they had no hot vegetarian option on this flight.)
We then both slept for most of the remainder of this flight - not awesome sleep, but at least we got some rest. Upon arrival in Singapore, we of course got to deboard first, and then were able to get to immigration quickly and pick up our bags (our suitcases were tagged with "First Class Priority Baggage" tags, so they were one of the first fews bags to come out!). We then had to exchange some cash for Singapore dollars so that we could buy ticket to jump on the MRT, their awesome subway system. We rode this from the airport to a stop a few blocks from our hotel. It was definitely a wake up call that we were in Asia when we were standing on this packed subway soaring through the densely packed city. We had a very short walk from the subway stop to our hotel (maybe 5 minutes or so), but in that time, we both were profusely sweating. It was about 90 degrees, but according to the internet, felt like 108. And let me tell you, it FELT like 1o8!! We are so not used to the heat and humidity! But we were both so relieved when we walked into this beautiful Holiday Inn in Singapore.
Derren got us both a bunch of hotel points through another credit card sign up last year, so we are staying in this beautiful hotel for three nights for free. And since he had so many points by getting the credit card, he has "platinum" status. Unfortunately they had no executive suites to upgrade us to, but they did offer us a bunch of perks for being platinum members (including free internet which I'm using to write this blog! It's about $20 per hour otherwise!) Even though we didn't get an upgraded room, the one we have is huge and wonderful - a much needed comfort after a LONG two days of traveling!
We had walked in the sweltering heat to the hotel, but as soon as we got to our room, we looked out the window, and this is what we saw. DOWNPOUR rain. Derren reminded me that it's still monsoon season. I guess I will have to get used to this...
Since we have platinum status, we were invited to use their executive lounge. It just happened that by the time we checked in, it was time for "high tea", so we headed to the lounge and picked up some more free beverages and snacks. We only had a small amount because we really wanted to hit the streets and find some REAL Asian food (you know, the kind that makes you think you might get food poisoning, but then you know that its legit.) So after a cold beverage and a few bites, we headed back to the room to come up with a game plan.
We ended up deciding to stay in the vicinity of the hotel, and walk along Orchard Road, which is the main shopping center in the city. We found a bunch of eateries really near to the hotel, and were able to find some good Asian food right away. Here's my vegetarian noodles (I had to ask like three employees if they were vegetarian before one finally spoke English!) with vegetables, which only cost about $2 in US dollars.
Derren ate wonton noodles ($3), as seen below:
And then for dessert, black glutinous rice with coconut milk. Not the best thing I've eaten, but it was pretty good (and only about $1)
Then we just walked up and down Orchard Road and looked at some of the thousands of malls. It is crazy how many 10 stories malls can be in one stretch of road.
Look at this one - 12 floors of stores! And with malls all up and down the street from it! This is the view from the 12th floor of this mall - its a cool view of the city.
After walking for a few hours we were both so sticky and tired, that we headed back to the hotel room to enjoy a much needed shower!!! It felt so amazing!! After cleaning up, we headed back to the executive lounge for the nightly hors d' oeuvres and drinks (yes, all free. Unlimited food and alcohol. I seriously don't know how I got so lucky.)
Even though we had eaten noodles just a few hours before, we both had some snacks and wine/beer (me/derr). This has pretty much done us in...even though its only 8:00pm local time, we haven't slept in a real bed in a few days, and we are pooped. We are going to get some sleep, but are looking forward to doing more exploring (and of course, MORE EATING!) tomorrow!
Ashley & Derren