The plane drifted down slowly, slowly enough I slept through most of the flight. Eventually lights blinked on blinding me to some strange state of wakefulness. A flight attendant was at my side nearly immediately with water and a customs paper. I dutifully drank the water and filled out the simple form. I turned to look out the window and realized we were going to land in…
“Boom!” The wheels of the plane made contact with the tarmac rolling and groaning us to our final destination of Hong Kong. It had been roughly 30 hours since I entered the Salt Lake City airport. I hadn’t slept much more than four hours total. My eyes were burning with sleep. My skin clammy as the humid air settled on my dry skin. Briskly I walked through the teeming airport. Crowds of friends, family and employees waited to greet incoming visitors. One man carrying a sign reading “Star Jones” followed me momentarily convinced a white woman would be his charge.
I was left to wonder briefly if it was in face the Star Jones he was waiting for as I shook my head at him and continued my pace to the bus stop.
There I waited for what seemed an eternity for a bus to take me into the city driving across bridges and through lights, around a hulking port and by tremendously tall apartment buildings into the heart of Hong Kong. The bus hurtled through the night, then stopped and started in traffic as midnight neared and the partiers were out to play dashing into streets, ignoring lights, the loudest horn seemingly winning the right of way.
The driver stopped. “You here. This is Wan Chai.”
I jumped up and nodded, grabbing my bag in my efforts to exit as quickly as possible. I stepped onto a damp street, wet with everything and anything. A 7/11, a Circle K, a pharmacy, restaurants, clubs–the world was open for business.
I drudged down the street looking for Tung Lang Road, I walked and walked. I did my best to obey the map on my phone. It was of little help as distances seemingly shrank and grew again with every tiny twisting street I passed. Neon lights screamed for attention as ex-pats, foreigners and locals surged through the road looking for their next drink, the next party, the next stop to their long night out.
I breathed in the stink of sweat and rot. The air heavy with humidity and humanity.
I couldn’t wait to find a cool, clean hostel to put me up for the night. And then there it was.
A tiny paper sign on the side of a white tower “Yes Inn 2F.”
I carried my bags up too many flights of stairs, sweat stuck my shirt to my back. I was breathing heavily by the time I saw the check-in desk. Beyond relieved I handed over cash, credit and my passport, I struggled to make sense of the directions nodding and yessing I made my way to an elevator, to the eight floor and finally to bed.