10
Apr
14

Bay Area Chronicles: Way Back Home

It is always bittersweet whenever a trip draws to an end.  Most especially if you’re having a great time!  But going home doesn’t mean that the adventure is over!

On my way to San Francisco

It takes less than an hour from my hotel in Pleasant Hill to San Francisco International Airport (SFO).  My daily commute from Quezon City to Makati takes much longer than that, but at that moment it felt so much longer.  I don’t know if I’m just really eager to get home, or I’m tired from an entire day of walking.  And when I got to the airport, I realized that my long journey home had really begun.

San Francisco International Airport

It’s quite interesting that flying eastwards is much faster than going westwards.  From HKG to SFO it takes 12 hours while going back takes 16 hours!  You can sleep for eight hours and you still have eight more to spare.  For such a long flight I’m just really thankful that I’m flying business class.

Some of the places I was able to visit during my stay in California

But before my long trip begins, it’s time for dinner in none other than the business class lounge of Cathay Pacific (CX).  It’s nowhere near that in Hong Kong, but it’s definitely much better than that in Manila.  Since I haven’t eaten anything yet for the past few hours I was famished, but I had to manage my meal as I know there’s going to be a feast in flight.  That means I only have room for the best of what CX SFO has to offer.

Dinner

The really delicious Dan Dan noodles

Waiting for my noodles 😀

As expected, it was dinnertime again once we got onboard and gained some altitude.  I could’ve opted for a light meal, but hey, I have a long day ahead (sleeping) so let’s bring it on!

Cathay Pacific’s meals not only have good serving size, they’re also very good so you really can’t help but be stuffed in their flight.  Sometimes I wish I have two stomachs to accommodate all the good food that they’re serving! 😀

Cathay Delight and apple juice

Appetizers

Desserts

Almonds

Main course for dinner

As expected, the flight was spent mostly sleeping, eating, and movie watching.  I was able to finally finish About Time during this flight and even saw Diana, but it was just my luck that I was cut short just a few minutes before the end of the movie.

Breakfast

Breakfast still 🙂

Plain yogurt on the side

15 hours later, we arrived in Hong Kong, a full hour ahead of schedule.  It was great news—if Hong Kong is my destination!  And because of this, my stay in Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) just got longer.  Fortunately HKG is a great airport, and Cathay Pacific’s business lounge here is just the best so I didn’t really mind.  More time to explore!

Hong Kong International Airport

On my way to the business lounge

When I learned that I can actually take a shower in the lounge for free, I just loved Cathay Pacific even more!  As a Filipino, I’m used to taking showers daily, so a shower after all this time is just heaven!  Naturally, there was a queue to the showers, but I didn’t mind and just took some light breakfast while waiting.

This will do for now: some crispy noodles, apple juice, and Schweppes “Ginger Beer” which is not really beer despite the label

Watching the sun rise while eating and waiting for my turn to use the shower

Cathay Pacific’s shower room is easily one of the most beautiful shower room I’ve ever seen anywhere, hotels included!  The toilet flush buttons are similar to touch screens, the ceiling where the rain showers is very high, and it has all the toiletries you’d need (towel, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, etc.).  Well done Cathay Pacific!  Even if you charge for these facilities I’d be glad to pay.

The toilet

The high shower which I really love 🙂

Telephone shower and some soaps

After a refreshing shower, it was time to continue breakfast.  All these time I was pretty much contented with the lower level of the lounge, but as I got bored and still had much time on my hands, I decided to look at the upper level.  My jaw dropped (figuratively of course).

Continuation of breakfast

First time to try this, very good beer

The upper level of The Wing offers, aside from what the lower level had, a noodle station, a coffee bar, and so much more.  As always, I don’t really have room to try everything so I just sampled a different noodle flavor and some specialty coffee.

The upper level of the lounge

Ramen by the noodle bar.  Dan Dan is still my favorite.

Newspapers at the lounge: see the one from the Philippines?

View from the upper level

The very busy noodle bar

Chocolate Coconut Latte

Passengers waiting for their flight

Nice color 🙂

Finally, it was time to board one last time.  With this flight, I was expecting a seat configuration similar to the one I had from MNL (Manila) to HKG so I was pleasantly surprised to see that the seat configurations on this flight remained 1-2-1, similar to my SFO-HKG flight.  But there’s a catch.  My agency had booked the same seat number as with my MNL-HKG flight, and the result was just…

Where’s my window?!

Fortunately, it wasn’t a fully booked flight (for the business class at least) so I was able to ask for a better seat.

Now this is so much better!

The trip to MNL from HKG is just a little over two hours so I didn’t bother to sleep (as I probably had more than my dose of sleep during this trip so far).  I was hoping to continue where I left off from the movie Diana, but as this is a short flight, movies were not available.  Oh well, I’ll just eat. 😀

View of the tarmac from my window

Finally I can stretch my legs

HKG from the air

Another aerial view

See the cable car up the mountains?

Fruits as part of my meal in flight

Aerial view of Hong Kong

Now this one is somewhere over Luzon, the Philippines

As we arrive closer to Manila, I noticed some very dark “clouds” in the horizon.  As I looked closer, it’s not really clouds, it’s smog!  Unbelievable!  This is my first time to return to Manila on a weekday morning (and a Monday) so I never really realized that the sky we had is like this.  We really have to do something about our air!

What the…?!

I do not know how to feel as our plane started descending into the “dark clouds”

But as you got closer to the ground, you become oblivious to it

Touchdown!  Finally, I’m back in Manila.  Back to the tropics, back to traffic, but most of all, back to home.  I got out as quickly as I could out of NAIA Terminal 1 and headed straight back home.  It was really strange that traffic in EDSA that time (around noon) was light, but who’s complaining?  Time to get back to normalcy.

* * *

Bay Area Chronicles


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