On the return flight we lost three bags between the four of us. They will probably turn up tomorrow. The flight from Cairns on Saturday afternoon was delayed due to the chaos typhoon Nuri left behind in Hong Kong on Friday. We missed our connection and had to take the next flight home, 24 hours after the original one. Naturally our baggage was not complete on arrival. Miraculously the items we most cared about were there. Alex got his didge. The odd-sized luggage had all made it through and one of my bags was there as well, three others are MIA. Of the things that are not here, the item I miss most is my house key. It was in a bag that I used as carry-on luggage before and stupidly I forgot all about it untill I got home and the bag did not. Fortunately I have given copies of my house key to a number of people and was eventually able to enter without having to break in, which was quite a relief. Especially with regards to the number of booby-traps and burglar prevention measures that I had taken before leaving here six weeks ago. Home now, very tired.
The delay in Cairns actually felt like winning time instead of losing, because we spent it in the company of friends and had a last dinner together. The long stop in Hong Kong was harder to get over, but it was beautiful to see that the storm had not damaged the Hong Kong skyline at all, and after the initial shock of finding ourselves qeued up at the transfer desk with the couple of hundred other passengers from the plane and having to wait for hours, the way people helped each other was an inspiration. Except there was one business class passenger who made a scene because the hotel he was given was not chique enough. Hell, he got a hotel room! All we were given was bottles of water and a voucher for 40 HK dollars (4 Euro's) each to get lunch.
Waiting is not one of my talents. An 18 hour wait for me is a lot, although in the grander scheme of things I know I was lucky. There was another batch of passengers from Bali who were already waiting 24 hours and of whom only a couple of newly-weds were lucky enough to get seats on our plane. We crashed near a gate and watched planes come and leave again after filling up with passengers. Initially I intended to spend the time by taking photographs of the sequence of planes, all with the same mountain sky line as background, but after dozing off and missing a few I gave up and went in search of something more fun, such as a shower. In the afternoon we bought ourselves five hours in a lounge and got the shower and free food and some drinks (mainly chinese tea), access to power points, free internet, etc. but no beds. When we finally boarded the plane I was so wiped out I thought I could sleep anywhere. But sleeping in economy class is not as simple as it was in the days when planes used to have empty seats sometimes, especially the planes leaving Australia. Both first and second time I went to Australia I had a row to myself on the return flight, to stretch out and sleep. And as if fuel prices and typhoons weren't enough to dim the chances of empty seats, they just had to have the Olympics in China, which just had to end this weekend. The plane was bombed. I managed to curl up and catch two winks but that was it. There was hardly room to turn, let alone stretch. There very probably simply wasn't enough room for our bags any more and that is why they were lost. I bet there were passengers stowed in the luggage compartment. I wonder if they had an easier time sleeping than I did.