Postscript - September 6, 1999 - Chek Lap Kok - Hong Kong International Airport

I am sitting outside of gate 4 at the airport waiting for my flight to leave on my final stage of the trip back to London Heathrow. It is about 9:45 and the flight leaves at midnight. Quite a long wait and I have already been here for about an hour and a half.

Outside the large glass windows, I can see, through their extremely reflective surfaces, planes as they taxi past the window and the normal hustle and bustle of various service vehicles as their lights blink through the night. It is relatively quite here with a growing group of people arriving for the flight. Most are either laying down, reading or both. A few just stare out onto the runways passing the hours until we leave.

Me. I can't sit still, I write. First thing I looked for was a plug for my laptop. Now I have it, I will not let go. I am tired though. A long way to go. They say that the trip to Heathrow is some 14 hours. I believe this is will be the longest flight I will have ever been on, never mind the earlier 9 hour flight from Melbourne to here. All in all, it seems I will be in the air for the best part of 24 hours and my day will last something like 36 or more hours by the time I am finally at home and, perhaps, in bed. It depends on how I feel, if it is not much better than right now (which I suspect will be the case) then I will most likely have to call it a day. Something that has not helped has been a cold that I seemed to have picked up a few days ago in Melbourne. They kept some of the convention centre rooms very cold and others not so cold so the alternating warm and cold most likely did me in. Never mind the walking about in the warmer outside (and subsequent rain).

This is basically the end of my trip to Hong Kong and Australia, having said good-bye to mother a little more than an hour ago. We had hoped to be able to sit down to have a chat over a drink but there were no places to do so. Disappointing. We did, however, have a chance to say our good-byes earlier and had a chance to talk both last night at dinner and on the plane here – though both of us were pretty tired.

It has been an overall successful trip I believe. I mentioned to mother that if I had been alone I would have probably pushed myself a lot more than I did with mother around since I would have felt guilty just sitting in a hotel room watching TV. When you are travelling with someone, it is good to be able to talk, even if it is not terribly deep, it is nice to share the experience. I always maintain that with two people, one person will always see things that the other misses. With my mother, there were other more personal things we could discuss.

High on my agenda, somewhat selfishly perhaps, was discussion about what I would be doing with my life. I have been troubled for some time now trying to decide what I should do. Mother has, in the past, suggested that perhaps this was because I had too many options available to me and the trick was to pick one of them. I see it actually as the options do not seem to be terribly appealing. At least the ones I can see. The one thing that she did point out which is obvious in retrospect is that I never really sit down and do nothing, that is, give time for myself. For the past few months I have been unable to read and I am always running around doing something. Even when at home and (supposedly) watching television, I will go around the flat doing things (cleaning, cooking, etc). I am unable to sit down and read. Mother actually noted that when she reads she tends to think not only about what she is reading but about her life and perhaps this is what is most bothering me and not allowing me to sit down and do it. She has suggested that I do nothing. Sit down and just think. Perhaps this is more than nothing. Just sit down perhaps. I don't know if I can do that. It is strange – even when talking on the telephone I tend to pace about the flat, never sitting still for any minute. Perhaps I am on my way to a heart attack before I am 30 (though it would have to occur pretty soon – birthday is not that far away). No, my age has nothing to do with my indecision (mid life crisis? Yeah, at 30, right…).

Talking with her helped. I had hoped I would be able to talk to her a little bit. Even though we did not talk very personally all that often, when we did I thought it was very good and helpful. For both of us. Don't get me wrong – it was NOT one-sided we had a few talks about other things that shall remain between us. When living alone it seems that you can really get wrapped up in your own problems and forget others – perhaps even insensitive to others to a certain degree. This happened to me and I got bitten for it, but I think we were both better off.

This trip was to pay off mother for a couple of large loans that she gave me in the past. The interest, mind you, not the principle (which I am still working on). This was the obvious reason. I had other reasons. I wanted to expose her to the vitality of Hong Kong and the intellectual stimulation of the WorldCon. I wanted to watch her reaction. As I mentioned earlier, it helps when there are two people sharing the experience. The fact that we travelled around a certain part of southern Australia as well was only just gravy. So, perhaps it was really selfish (the money means nothing to me – the experience is everything – no, I am not being elitist, there are some things that are so important that they transcend money…more important). She had always expressed an interest in attending WorldCon but never got further than that so I felt that if I gave her a (significant) shove in the right direction to allow her to attend, she would and see what she has been missing. I don't know if she will come again (to a WorldCon), but I kind of hope she does. She had a great time…

It was interesting to hear that she actually also wanted to visit Hong Kong and not for any reasons I could have thought, well, one reason I thought of but another I did not. One was because of the trip I had been on a number of years ago – just before the handover to China – she had heard me talking about it and was interested in what I had seen (especially the cultural aspects myself and my friend Mike had explored). The other reason was because of a friend in Winnipeg (where she lives) – His wife is from Hong Kong (as is he for that matter, but she just recently moved) and got to talking to mother about HER Hong Kong, the sights, the sounds, the experience. The “City of Life” as they say here. Because of this, she wanted to be here. I hope she takes advantage of this 'second trip' (she is staying overnight here since her connecting flight back to Canada leaves tomorrow afternoon) and goes out to see at least the harbour, it is pretty at night.

Hong Kong actually scares me to a certain extent – it is so different, so vibrant that I can sense the power of the city. Almost overwhelming if you let it get to you, and I have been somewhat retrospective in my return to this city. I could never work here, or live here – I don't think so. I like what little time I have to myself right now, to keep to myself. Less time here to oneself.

I am tired. It has been a long two weeks. The next “holiday” I have is at Christmas when I return to Winnipeg. Nothing between here and there except numerous days of work. A few other odds and ends…I need a vacation. I need some time to myself. I won't get it for a little while…perhaps I should.

I boarded the plane with about 100 children at midnight for the long trip home. I had my normal window seat and I was not disappointed when we left Hong Kong. We took off in an eastern direction, circling south past Kowloon and around the south side of Hong Kong Island, circling back over Hong Kong Island and north directly over Kowloon, the New Territories and, eventually, Southern China. Quite spectacular at night…I waved at mother at her hotel room as we passed above the hotel…A long trip home. A great way to end it.