What I learned this weekend

... dressed a bit like a New Romantic
… dressed a bit like a New Romantic

Back from a weekend away, and in between assembling Destroyer’s new bed and going to sleep, I try to write down some of what happened today, and what I think I learned from this.  Key learnings bolded:

We should have stayed longer in Hong Kong. Worried about taking the 6:30 flight back to Singapore (and thus landing at 10:30 and having all kinds of hilarity trying to get La Serpiente to bed) I booked us on a 4:30 departure, and even with the wonderful efficiency of Hong Kong’s in-town check in, that still meant a very truncated day.

Especially when we got to the in-town check in at 9:30 this morning, to discover that check-in was closed all day and we’d have to take our bags to the airport instead.  What happened to living in the future?

Things weren’t utterly disastrous.  We stuck our luggage in the left luggage area and went to have croissants in one of the many, high-end shopping malls that Hong Kong is blessed with. I realised once again that my stern refusal to ever pay for roaming data on my phone is really hurting me more than anyone else, as I would only be spending a maximum of $10 a day, and I’d then be able to keep in touch with people rather than pray I have their phone numbers stored in a random email somewhere.  So that was something to remember for the future.

The Landmark mall in Hong Kong is blessed with lots of wide open spaces, which La Serpiente made the most of by running along them as fast as she could, as far as she could, as often as she could.  Little wonder that I reached my Fitbit goal by mid afternoon today.  She only crashed a few times, and was stoic as usual in the face of banged up knees.  We have a tough one there.

After sampling the greatest croissants known to Hong Kong (not so great on a Sunday morning, unfortunately, which makes me wonder if the bakery runs seven days a week – they just weren’t as light and fluffy inside, and crispy on the outside, as I’m used to – we went over to Fuel in the IFC mall (about ten minutes, or twenty with a recalcitrant toddler) to have the best coffee and cake possible.  Fuel’s staff seemed a bit more snobbish than I’m used to – principally because they didn’t have my favourite cake (the tooth-rottingly sweet caramel slice) and because they wouldn’t make a babycinno for La Serpiente.  My fault entirely – I should have asked for an espresso cup sized serving of foamed milk – but it stuck in my craw a bit.  They made it up to us by constantly bringing over bottles of mineral water that we hadn’t paid for, although this seemed to be more incompetence at identifying the right table, rather than an attempt to put things right.

Also, one of my friends scoffed half the carrot cake before I had a chance to wolf it down.  I need more cake, dammit.  I need all the cake.

Running after La Serpiente half the time (my wife and I split the duties) is no good for conversation.  I felt a little misplaced – all my friends in Hong Kong (or the ones visiting Hong Kong at the same time as us) are doing incredible, world-changing things, and I felt as though all I do is move numbers around on a spreadsheet and sound clever. Then again, all I do at work is move numbers around on a spreadsheet and try to sound clever, so perhaps I should just accept this is my lot, and I’ll only change the world as far as spreadsheets can do so. It’s intimidating, but inspiring at the same time.  It also makes me question my existence, but that is something you should do more often than not.

By early afternoon, in-town check-in was inexplicably working again, so we had more time to relax.  Being able to drop off your bags at the station and not worry about rushing to a check-in desk at the airport is a great thing – it really saves a lot of the mental energy I’d otherwise spend worrying.  I could have instead spent it worrying that we didn’t have the right paperwork to get Destroyer back into Singapore, but I’d forgotten about that.  What bliss.

Instead, we went to Crystal Jade for dim sum.  Well, we were in Hong Kong, after all.  However, everyone else in Hong Kong had the same idea, so after a while we gave up waiting for a table and went back to the French hamburger place we started this weekend at. By then, La Serpiente was flagging a bit, so I spent a good ten minutes with her shouting at me for not being the right parent while I walked her around outside the restaurant, and then we all had to get on a train and vanish. These are the sort of high quality engagements I love to have with my friends, and that’s why I travel to foreign places.

(Oh, and the air pollution in Hong Kong was half what it is in Singapore, and I did get to have a run around Happy Valley this morning, a minor attempt to impede the further growth of my belly.)

We went to the airport; there’s a family lane through customs which made things so much more pleasant than they could otherwise have been.  The kids remained copacetic, even though we failed to see the children’s play area adjacent to gate 23 until it was too late to go in.  (That may be because I purchased more Peppa Pig books for our eldest – her appetite for the little pink cartoon knows no bounds.)

As for the flight itself, although it was one of those rough, turbulent my-god-we-may-all-die take offs from Hong Kong, the majority of the journey was peaceful – La Serpiente gave up the ghost at 5:30 (having not napped before) and went to sleep, and I took advantage of this to watch Terminator: Genisys.

Never watch Terminator: Genisys. One advantage of having young children is that there is less chance you’ll have time to watch Terminator: Genisys, but somehow it sneaked past my defences. I am thus a failure as a human being.

But still, fail better, fail harder, fail more.  Fail, fail, flail.

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