It starts innocuously enough: I pack a single backpack, kiss goodbye to my family at the train station and am on my way.

Except — instead of getting off the train at Brisbane Central or even further up the line at a friend’s stop — I continue on, stubbornly holding out until the second-last stop (which just happens to be the International Airport Terminal).

13h05 and I’m boarding China Airways to Taiwan. 21h15 and I’m sitting on a second plane. 23h00 and I’m in HONG KONG!

Hong Kong is currently the most desired destination by those in the know. And by “in the know” I mean, those who know and love the Harveys. The Harveys moved from Perth to Hong Kong just over a month ago and have already played host and tour guide to one of Renée’s highschool friends from Africa and one of Craig’s former colleagues from Perth! So if you don’t book your visit now into the Harvey Social Calendar, you may lose your chances!

Oh, yes. But I didn’t book in, did I? Hence the subterfuge of my last post where I simply referred to my grand international adventure as “gallivanting to a friend’s house for a little visit” and “the break”. Hah!

I’ve been able to successfully surprise family with international visits before. In 1996 I returned to Australia for Renée’s 21st birthday bash although she didn’t expect me for a couple of months (she came out of the shower, squinted at me, focused and said, “But you’re in America!”). And in 1999 I surprised David by turning up at his house a day earlier than he was expecting. (That was a real drag as David was trying to delay going home for hours and I was consequently waiting in his room for hours.)

Looking at our family calendar, it was now or never if I was going to visit Hong Kong — “HK”. I’m already 28 weeks pregnant, and David has a trip to New Zealand planned for the middle of the month. By the time he gets back from NZ at the end of the month, I’ll be too far gone for international flights. And if I wait until after Baby D arrives, we’ll probably be moving to NZ, I’ll have a newborn, and who knows when an opportunity will arise again…?

So I booked my flights last weekend and simply neglected to tell Renée. Or Craig.

Of course, I’m terrible at keeping secrets and so gushed to the friends who came to the mother’s group. Ahh, relief. Just as well I only had to hold this secret in for less than a week — I couldn’t manage any longer!

So I arrived in HK and cleared immigration and customs at about midnight. Instead of beating down the Harveys’ door in the middle of the night, I moved over to the Departures Terminal and found myself a good place for a snooze, thanks to travel tips and websites like Sleeping in Airports.

Lauren, October 2009
I was able to stretch out on a pair of seats before I went through Immigration and Customs. The airport announcements stopped at midnight until about 5.30.

After 6am, the bus to Tai Po started running again, so I hopped on the E41 to the end of the line and caught a taxi to Forest Hill. The information for all the public transport options was easily accessible online, and a taxi was waiting for me at the bus terminal.

Hong Kong, October 2009
My first view of Hong Kong Harbour on the trip from the airport.

When I reached the foyer of the Harveys’ building, it was about 8am. Late enough (even on a Saturday) that I knew they (or their kids) would be awake. So I buzzed their apartment, waking up Craig. However, just then a resident came out and offered me the open door, so I caught the lift up to the penthouse and knocked on the door!