The requisite asian tourist shot.
The flight from Siem Reap to Singapore was very quick and smooth. (departure tax- note that you have to pay a $25USD departure tax when you leave Cambodia - they do take credit cards, but the machine was broken when we were there, and they don't take Riel.) We grabbed a taxi who took the quickest route to V's place and we were able to pack all of our stuff into our bags - yeah! We were afraid we'd be over the weight limit or have to buy new luggage. We then had our last lunch with V - I had chicken rice again! yum! A had a spicy seafood noodley soup - tasty! We said our goodbyes and headed back to the airport - this was going to be travel day!
(Random Story - On the way to the airport in Singapore, we had the strangest cab driver.
My asian tourist shot - this one's for you Sybil!
He was totally a conspiracy theorist who really really really loved Hong Kong. He kept saying that we needed to go visit HK and eat the food there, and that he went all the time because he could read girlie magazines there (Singapore censors such things), but he assured us he only went with his wife and didn't do "bad things" there. Then he whispered to us that Singapore has cameras everywhere, that the govt controlled everything. He even said the whole story about the fugitive had to be a lie - that the guy was probably killed in jail and that the story was used so as to avoid producing a body - because he simply couldn't believe anyone could escape from police custody in Singapore. He made us swear not to mention this story until we were out of Singapore.
Our plane from Siem Reap to Singapore.
Wonder if it's true or if he is just kooky...)
We flew to HK on a newer plane - great entertainment system - not only can you pick whatever show/movie you want at any time, you can even fast forward! We had a 2nd lunch - I was tempted by the toblerone chocolates and haagen dazs ice cream - nice touch. We got to HK early and were so happy when we bounded off the plane at around 10 pm.
Then disaster struck! Remember the heavy rain we encountered in Siem Reap? Apparently that was part of a typhoon that hit HK and literally a hundred flights were cancelled including ours. What was most annoying was that when we checked in in Singapore, they already knew this, but instead of telling us so we could wait in Singapore and get later flights, they flew us to HK anyways knowing we'd be stranded at the airport.
Even worse, they didn't explain anything other than saying our flight was cancelled and that we had to stand in the transfer line - which was super long (and some people had already been in line for 2 hours!). I'm not sure why Cathay Pacific handled this so poorly - clearly the typhoon wasn't their fault, but they could have mitigated the consequences much better. (For one, they could have told us in Singapore so we could stay with V for an extra day...) Instead they told us we had to take the next flight to LA which wouldn't leave until noon the next day. Then, instead of getting us hotel rooms (because they claimed there were no rooms available - which was a lie - there were rooms, just more expensive than they wanted to pay), they told us to rest in their business class lounge - for the next 12 hours.
Last lunch with V.
It was ludicrous!!! There were so many angry people that I almost felt bad for the staff - but they really did muck this one up. I can understand a little mandarin, so I could tell some people were getting preferential treatment - i.e., they offered cash to people who bitched and moaned, but didn't do the same if you were polite. At least the lounge offered decent snacks and drinks - but it really wasn't the same as providing hotel rooms when that is the standard custom. A and I had to "create" beds using lounge chairs. It was so awful as to be almost amusing. (We also later found out that some of the other lounges were full - so instead of directing people to the other lounges, they just ejected passengers and told them they had to sit in the terminal area - how evil!)
The next morning I met a girl who had been dealing with the incompetence of Cathay since Sat - her flight to Manila got cancelled so they diverted her to Taipei - at least there they put her up in a nice hotel.
Mmmmm.. my last chicken rice in singapore.
Then inexplicably they flew her into HK on Sun, only to tell her she was stranded and couldn't have a hotel room. Then on Mon they put her onto a flight to San Francisco, then to Manila - how does that make sense???? She's already in Asia, but she has to fly to SF and then back to Asia???? These people are insane.
My advice - don't ever fly Cathay Pacific. Although the typhoon was not their fault, their incompetence and mismanagement made the situation 10X worse for their customers. Let's just hope I can at least get on today's flight and get home - finally! I'll probably have to take another day off work. I'm pretty sure Cathay doesn't want to reimburse me for that esp if they are too cheap to pay for a hotel room.
Our makeshift beds. Amazing how happy Amanda looks...
I will have to file a grievance when I get back home....
Not the way I wanted to end my fab trip - but I'm sure once I'm safe and sound at home with my luggage, this will become a distant, and almost funny story ... almost.
(Final Note - We did finally get home after about a 16 hour delay, which means from leaving Siem Reap we were in transit for over 48 hours! Arghhh! At least the business class lounge provided pretty good snacks and drinks (i.e., dim sum, coffees, wines, fruits, sandwiches, noodle soups, etc.) But then, Cathay put the icing on the cake by losing our luggage. Double Arghhh! They did subsequently find it, but I had already had it with them!)