Flying During the Pandemic and Bidding Farewell Hong Kong
January 30th 2020 heralded a new change for Bianca and I as we embarked on an exciting new adventure in Hong Kong – for how long we didn’t know…
However, we didn’t expect the adventure to end as soon as August 11th of the same year, but then again, has anyone’s 2020 gone the way they expected?
Now is a point of reflection for Bianca and I.
We bid farewell to Hong Kong, and head on over to Brescia, Italy for some much needed family and friends time!
Hong Kong dealt us a number of bad cards which all in all, led us to the decision to depart for good.
How will Hong Kong live in the memory? Not fondly truth but told, but there’s a lot more to it than judging the location.
Is there anywhere on the planet where the last 6 months have been a joy to behold? Chances are not so.
Hong Kong, despite battling with the pandemics 2nd, 3rd and however many other waves (another word we’re all sick of hearing), faces it’s own demons as protests and riots on the street become a sad regularity as tensions rise with the Mainland year upon year… perhaps it was a good time to get out?
Who knows, only time will tell.
Either way, the book has been closed on another chapter, but one thing’s for sure, the tests Hong Kong threw at us made us stronger than ever.
Couple that with some new friendships and life lessons under our belts and you have a number of positives to take from a difficult experience, something you can always strive to do.
PLANNING ON LIVING IN HONG KONG? Check out our guide for where to live in Hong Kong.
Flying During the Pandemic
This was a step into the unknown.
Normally boarding flights every month, we’d not tasted airport life since moving on January 30th, so much had changed in such little time.
How would the experience be.?
Absolutely fine in all honesty!
However, there were two very clear things to note here (we stopped over in Istanbul’s brand new airport on the way back to MXP Milan Malpensa):
HONG KONG AIRPORT – utterly deserted. For one of the busier airports you’d visit, this was a shock to us. Quieter than even I expected, barely a soul around us. Staff everywhere all PPE’d and masked up, out-numbering passengers comfortably.
Oddly, it was quite nice, eerily. No rushes of people, no dawdling or faffing around to contend with, it was all very leisurely. The check-in queue non-existent.
We checked in smoothly, but had to contend with most places being closed, and coupled with the 6pm closure of eating in, we had to grab a McDonalds and pick a bench to eat at – all rather odd.
The flight was likewise empty, 10 hours on the plane flew by (pun absolutely intended) with the solid in-flight entertainment and the fact we could sprawl out wherever we so wished!
ISTANBUL AIRPORT – Things were remarkably different here.
We landed at 4.30am local time and the early signs appeared to show it was quiet – not so, by a long shot!
Having transferred through to the wonderfully renovated airport we were met by people everywhere, barely a chair in sight.
Take the masks away and you’d be completely oblivious to the fact there was pandemic going on.
It seems quite clear straight away that Europe and Asia have very different stances on the pandemic as we stand right now.
Europe wants to get on with thing, Asia will not do so until everything is rid of.
The contrasts are so clear to see having been in Hong Kong and previously China.
Granted Istanbul is a huge travel hub to many locations, Turkish Airlines flying to more countries than any other on the planet, but still, this was a stark contrast to Hong Kong International Airport.
HEADING TO HONG KONG? Stay at the Royal Plaza Hotel, we absolutely loved it there.
For us – who knows! With a decimated job market now is perhaps the time to “invest in yourself”… make the most of that spare time you may have. More on that another time soon.
For Hong Kong – see above, who really knows. What strikes me is that the political situation there, already fierce, will not boil down anytime soon.
This is here to stay and I must admit to fearing for the future of those loyal Hong Kongers.
The clock ticks on that 50 year agreements signed in ’97, and as that goes on, the screw will only further be turned.
What we will strive to do though, is keep sharing our stories with you, because through all the trouble and strife of this year, starting Umami Life has been a wonderful way for us to switch off, get creative and build something fun together.
If you can turn difficult situations to your advantage, you can take on the world.
Thanks for reading, and farewell Hong Kong.
Bianca and Max ☺️