I have to admit that it seemed a bit absurd to me that we were due to leave for our 10:15pm flight at 2pm – why in the world would we need that much time? Ha! In the end I would realize that wasn’t nearly enough time – we avoided missing our flight by only 7 minutes.
Most of our team was going to take our infamous VW van down to Heathrow, while 3 who we didn’t have room for took the train. The van-goers got a bit of a late start but with 3 hrs to spare it didn’t seem it would pose a problem. About 15mins into our drive we stopped for petrol… and there we remained stopped for the next 2 hrs. You see the van is diesel and we accidentally filled it with unleaded. Oh yes! Thankfully we realised our mistake before starting the engine & called roadside assistance. Unfortunately by the time they turned up we wouldn’t have time to drive to the airport so we had to take the train. As Carl, the base leader, drove us to the train station in heavy traffic we missed the 2 trains we were hoping to get.
Oh, and did I mention the earlier train threesome left us their luggage in the van? So 5 of us were hauling 8 enormous backpacks & a few smaller ones. We finally caught the train at 5 till 6pm and I spent most of the journey praying and trying to not think about what would happen if we missed our non-refundable flight. Once our train arrived, we had to navigate the labyrinthine underground sandwiched between backpacks & frontpacks. If we made all of our connections we were due to arrive at Terminal 3 at 9:15. Our flight left from Terminal 5 and we had to be through security by 9:25pm.
Thankfully, by a small miracle we were able to catch an earlier Heathrow Express & one that went straight to Terminal 5. At the airport we were greeting by our teammates who thrust our bags onto a trolly and began a mad dash to the check-out counter. Amazingly, there were no ques at the check-in desk or security and the escalator dumped us out right at our gate. I could have kissed the airplane when we boarded. I slept most of the flight, only to arrive in Hong Kong with a pounding migraine that lasted the next 36 hours. But despite my head, the 90% humidity & haze, it’s good to be in Hong Kong.
Hey, at least it gave me something to blog about!