I write this on a nice iMac at Hong Kong International Airport. I am always amazed at how far behind American airports are with regards to things like free WiFi, charging stations and free computers. Here at HKIA you can’t walk 100 yards without connectivity, filtered water filling stations and other creature comforts.
In a couple hours I will complete my journey back to O’Hare Airport in Chicago. I have left 30ºC and am headed for MINUS THIRTY DEGREES CELCIUS. But it’s the time travel that always seems even odder. I will leave Hong Kong at about noon Monday and arrive in Chicago just after noon Monday. Fourteen hour time difference, fourteen and a half hour flight.
I do notice the weather change though. I actually had a chill while trying to sleep overnight at HKIA, the first time I haven’t been hot and sweaty in three week. The weather in Malaysia was perfect, albeit more humid even during the dry season than I am accustomed to. Curled up uncomfortably in the wee hours of the morning on an airport chair I actually wished I had the hoodie that is in my checked bag. When I arrive in frigid Chicago some seventeen hours from now I am going to wish I had a lot more than that hoodie, but I don’t.
I left Langkawi first thing Sunday morning. Mark & Kim came down to the lobby to see me off. They and the other thirteen Bristolians in our party wouldn’t leave for another eight hours or so. I flew Malaysia Airlines from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur (one hour), had an eight hour layover in KL at an airport I don’t like at all, then had a four hour flight via Malaysia Airlines here to HKIA. Another twelve hours here at perhaps my second favorite airport after Dubai (or maybe it’s just that I’ve had time to get very familiar with it), I now wait for that 14.5 hour Cathay Pacific flight to Chicago.
My last night in Langkawi I hiked back up to Seven Wells and the Waterfall above Oriental Village alone. It was my third trip up there and in addition to the Heteropoda and Pandercetes sp. huntsman spiders and other creepy crawlies we had been seeing, the highlight was stopping to watch some Oriental Pied Hornbills and monkeys way up in the canopy and then seeing a pair of Great Hornbills join them. Oriental Pieds are huge birds - larger than most hawks - but they are the smallest of the three hornbill species that can be found on Langkawi. The Great Hornbill is massive - bald eagle sized. When it flaps its wings for lift to rise in the rainforest the thump and swoosh is unmistakable and impressive.
I’ll try to write a bit of a trip summary with images when I recover after my return. I said I wouldn’t make excuses as to why I didn’t keep my promise/intention to blog each and every day, but one reason definitely was not being able to figure out how to embed images when composing on my iPad. This entry is the first of the trip written on a computer with an actual keyboard so just typing was also problematic.