Day of return
Rye, New York
The skies were overcast and a light rain was falling this morning, the perfect excuse to lazily sleep in. After packing for what seemed like the millionth time, having some breakfast downstairs and then checking out of my apartment, it was time to hit the streets for a few last hours of sightseeing.
Having spent the last five weeks in Asia, it’s hard to say exactly how many temples I’ve seen. On this, my last day, why not visit one more? The Man Mo, the oldest in Hong Kong, was a short MRT ride away, its air chokingly thick with the fragrant smoke of incense burning from its ceiling. Some are so large that they are said to continue burning for 3 weeks.
The temple is on Hollywood Road, with its antiques shops and trendy boutiques, in the Central District. My backpack is already bulging with everything that I’ve bought the last several weeks so although tempting, it was a lot of looking and not a lot of buying.
I’d really wanted to take the funicular to the top of Victoria Peak but the clouds were heavy and it didn’t seem like it would be worth it. So, instead, it was back to the hotel for an hour of downtime before hopping on the Airport Express.
Cathay Pacific checked me in quickly to an aisle seat with no neighbor. Score! Browsing afterwards through the shopping mall that is Hong Kong International Airport, a hunger pang struck. That wouldn’t be a problem. My last meal in Asia? Burger King.
We boarded our Boeing 777-300ER at 6:15 p.m. and shortly after settling in, were hurtling down the island runway. How does one pass time on a 15-hour, 8,068 mile flight that crosses the North Pole? As the skies outside the window went from dark to light to back to dark, we staid off boredom by:
- Watching: Charlie Wilson’s War, Vantage Point, Charlie Bartlett (4.5 hours)
- Reading: International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, New Yorker (3 hours, cover to cover)
- Sleeping: What else was there to do? (5 hours)
- Eating: Even on economy, Cathay dishes up two decent dinners with a glass of Malbec from Argentina (.5 hours)
- Looking: Go through and organizing 3,145 trip photos (1.5 hours)
- Writing: This blog post (.5 hours)
A little before 10 p.m., we began our approach from the north to New York’s JFK Airport, following the Hudson River and passing right over White Plains. As the city drew closer, its familiar lights sparked beneath me. Mom and Dad met me just outside of Terminal 7, International Arrivals. It was great to see them both.
This has been a remarkably long day of travel, thirty-four hours all together. It began Monday morning at 4 a.m. in Hong Kong and ended at 1 a.m. Tuesday in New York. I’m exhausted, yet with the time difference, I’m strangely ready for a croissant and cup of coffee.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll awake in a familiar bed, in a familiar home, in a familiar town, surrounded by familiar people (and pets). There will be nothing on the itinerary. And you know what? After 80 days of crisscrossing the globe, I’m not sure that I’ll mind.
It’s good to be home.