I boarded the Cathay Pacific flight at Heathrow Airport looking forward to a smooth flight home. Half an hour later the pilot's voice comes over the PA system, apologising for an "unknown error" which will take at most 30 minutes to repair. Cathay Pacific thanks you for your patience.
An hour later, the pilot finally announces we're ready to take off! I love takeoffs. The thrill of the plane speeding up gives me an adrenaline rush like no other. So we all strap into our seats, the cabin crew are seated, and the plane taxies on to the runway of Heathrow Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world, where you have 90 seconds to get your plane's ass off the runway before another plane's ass slams into it.
And we wait.
And we wait some more.
Ten minutes later, the pilot's voice comes on again, and tells us the same error from before has mysteriously recurred, and takeoff will be delayed whilst engineers fix the problem. Shouldn't take more than an hour or so, he says.
Six hours later, we're sweating it out on the plane, this Spanish woman is in hysterics screaming at airport personnel because she'll miss her connecting flight, and the air stewardesses (who all look like they've been hothoused in some Hong Kong military academy) are barking orders all round. Then the pilot (whose voice by now sounds strangely beaten-up) announces that the error can't be rectified, and that we will all be transferred to another plane, thank you for your patience.
But first, of course, we have to wait for the plane to ARRIVE. Then, when it finally takes off, and I'm busy looking outside the window as Britain falls away under me, a steady stream of cold water drips onto my leg from the roof of the plane.
Brilliant. Not many people can claim to have been urinated on by an airplane.
Hong Kong is a funny place. It smacks of efficiency and impersonality. You expect to be barked at by airport personnel and hustled along by ground staff simply for walking too slow. Them giving me my boarding pass a minute before the gate opened (on the other side of the airport, naturally) fit right in with this hypothesis. But then you look up and see posters like these:
An underwear expo, complete with models. You'd expect something like this in Japan. But hey, whatever keeps the visitors coming to your airport.
Days later, I'm sitting at my laptop, finally ready to update my blog, when all of a sudden an electrical storm comes out of nowhere, and lightning fries my broadband modem. Right when over a hundred people are screaming for a newsletter I'm trying to send out.
What have I learnt from all this?
HELL IS DIAL-UP MODEMS.
Not all is bad, though. I've got some exciting news regarding taking my blogging to a new level coming up soon. (No, it's not Google AdSense. I rather like having a soul, you know. --Editor) Watch this space.