Day two of the trip. Our 12 hour layover afforded us the opportunity to get out and see Hong Kong and after the 15 hour flight it was awesome stretching the legs. Jacky Wong, our guide, was able to pack in a fun tour in a short period of time. ¬†After starving us for the first half of the day, he then stuffed us with the local dishes at a Dim Sum restaurant. ¬†Between the 10 of us, we must have eaten a good 2000 calories. ¬†The cost was only ~$12 a person and it was all we could do to finish the food. ¬†Many laughs were had as people got to know each other better over endless dishes of noodles, dumplings, meats and who-knows-what. ¬†We all packed on an extra 5 pounds of weight that will be welcome calories in the weeks to come. ¬†Of course navigating around the city probably ate up most of those calories anyway.
Hong Kong was unlike any place most of us had seen. ¬†The density was hard to comprehend. ¬†We really enjoyed having a local showing us around and sharing his insight on this massive city. ¬†Rather than use a guide book that took us to all the touristy spots, we skipped them and ended up in areas of the city few¬†foreigners roamed.
This varied group of Airmen is quickly coming together as a large group of friends. ¬†Inside jokes are beginning (in a good way) and slaps on the back are common between all. ¬†Some of the laughs seem to be due to our lack of sleep… you know that giddy laugh people get after staying up all night? ¬†Those are pretty much common place as we sit in the airport waiting for our delayed flight to Kathmandu.
While our trip is just beginning and we’re still far from the mountains, we’re already using a good deal of risk management. ¬†Traveling with a group of ten folks in a crowded, confusing city has its hazards. ¬†#1 would be getting separated, which wouldn’t be cool, right?! ¬†Just using the simple head count at each stop was our best tool. ¬†However, one of our deliberate risk management steps was to get all our team linked up on Skype. ¬†How does that help? ¬†Well, over here we don’t have cell signals (most of us have turned off cellular connections), but we are using our phones’ wifi. ¬†The idea being that if anyone gets separated we are connected via voice and text on Skype. ¬†It’s a cool way to avoid terribly expensive phone charges and still be in real-time communication with each other. It also doesn’t hurt that many here speak a little English, so finding a bus back to the airport and rallying at the gate, which was the back-up plan, wouldn’t be too difficult. ¬†- Colin, Andrew, and Rob