Monday, September 17th, 2001:

Well, here we are again, my trusty iceBook and I, giving you something to read while we watch the sun rise in an exotic, foreign land. This would be a pretty sweet gig if I could make a living at it; in fact, I’ve already taken my first, feeble step in that direction. More details when they are confirmed…

It sure was strange being in an airplane after watching them crash into buildings all last week. I got to Toronto’s Pearson airport on Saturday before 5AM, and joined a couple of hundred other folks in queue for two United Airlines flights. The line-up didn’t start moving until after 6, when the customs desk opened up for the day. This meant that getting my boarding pass actually took longer than going through security and having my luggage searched… Twice!

The flight to San Francisco ended with a textbook-perfect landing and an emotional thank-you from the crew. The only other event of note was the really bad breakfast. The flight attendants had run out of waffles by the time they reached my back row seat; my only other choice was a baked potato, a single sausage and some bland, runny salsa. I only mention this for the purpose of comparison with what came next…

Our 747 was waiting for us when we arrived in San Fran; in fact, we pulled up right next to it. United Airlines, a sponsor of our tour through the free tickets they provided, decided that we should fly business class to Hong Kong. Thus, when I boarded I found waiting for me an oversized seat that reclined to an almost flat position, about four rows worth of legroom and a glass of champagne. The first four hours of the flight was a relentless bombardment of food and liquor. One of our group (whose identity I’ll protect, for now) went a little overboard with the free booze and was cut off, but yours truly, the experienced world traveller, was content with a few hours of The Manchurian Candidate on his private LCD video screen until the Gravol kicked in. Dinner was ordered from a menu before takeoff, and served on fine china with silverware, except for the plastic knives, a rather poignant touch.

We arrived at Chep Lak Kok (no jokes, please) International Airport about half an hour behind schedule, and I spent about as much time on my Fido world phone, on hold because I couldn’t get in to my voice mailbox. Everything’s now in order, and my hotel’s high-speed connection to the ‘Net is working without a hitch.

I should also mention that my own personal goldfish at staring at me while I write this. The hotel provided me with it for the duration of my stay. Here, verbatim, is the fish’s letter of introduction:

“Hi! What am I doing here? Well, lets’ face it, you’re in Hong Kong alone, and maybe you need an ear to talk to at night. I’m a great listener. I’m here as long as you want me, but if you’re tired of my company then give Housekeeping a call and they will collect me. And they will even feed me so don’t worry about that.

Have a great stay… Fish.”

So, with three full days before our first show I should have lots to write about. Keep it locked right here, or bookmarked at least …

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