Wow, No One Guessed Correctly

Oh wow.

No one had guess correctly my final destination. I thought it would have been easy but then maybe there were a red herring that threw people off.


The red herring I am talking about is the Hong Kong International Airport. Above is the view from the plane of the new airport in HK. It would have been more exciting flying in and out of the old Kai Tak airport. I remember being able to peer into people’s apartment in the city from the plane and thinking if the plane I was in will be the first to crash into the middle of the city.

Choi. Touch wood – touch wood.

Anyway, the stop over in HK was unfortunate. That’s the … only flight offered in short notice by our travel services folks (yeah, we have a department specializing in arranging travel for staff and we even have a web application that handles everything from request to approvals to issuance of tickets and all). Since we are an aviation industry company, travelling is a norm. So the stopover in HK was the only quickest way to get me there — like they do it in the Amazing Race.

And then when you find out at the bottom of this post, you will say to me “What?!? This is not a culinary mecca!” … yeah, I did a bit more research to brace myself with an onslaught of that feedback. 🙂 Seems like back 30 years ago, it was not a culinary mecca. However, today it is when I got to the city I walked around and I almost burst into tears seeing all the wonderful food here. So much food, so little time … and so cheap too!


There’s a little clue in the picture up there.

Service is great on the flight. This is a flight where three languages were spoken. They look at me and decided to speak to me in Cantonese all the time, without fail. They did not speak to me in English nor did they speak to me in the language that is spoken in the destination. I wonder how they can tell as I could would easily blend is as one of the boys in the destination city.

This second and final leg of the flight took 2.5 hours. This was not too bad and I totally enjoyed this leg. I got a window seat while the earlier 13 hour trip I had a middle seat. If not for the fact that I was seated next to a nice camera and chatty salesman from the St Thomas islands, it would have been a bore … and that he kept his arms away from the shared arm rest too. I hate being squished from both side and people taking up both my left and right arm rest!

So in this leg which is just 2.5 hours they served airline food! Asian airlines sure beats any North American airlines. All they gave in North America is a bag of peanuts or pretzels for such a short trip. Some don’t even give you that. And then you can buy mostly dry snacks for a price.


I love this flight for the food. We were served hot breakfast — a choice of scrambled eggs or dim sum.

Dim Sum of course! I heard of people having dim sum on Asian flights and never had one before.

They are not the prettiest looking for sure. What is seriously lacking is soya sauce.


The best item was the sticky rice, complete with leaf wrapper and all.


There is even a small Xiao Long Bao. No soup inside but it is just made like a XLB. Complete with the hole thingy at the top.


The above is the view of the destination city about 50 miles out. I had read that this city is known to be very flat and I can see now what it means. In the northern reaches of the vast city, I could see the mountains which served as a barrier to invading forces over centuries. I will definitely be going to visit the mountains. It is a must for everyone.



The most experienced of you would have guess way up front in this post of the destination already. But I think this one is the a-ha moment. The sweeping roof is unmistakable for those who had flown into this airport before.

This airport is immense. In terms of sheer size, this beats the Atlanta airport which is the most busiest in the world. But it will not be for long. This airport had been snapping at the heels of the legendary and super efficient ATL aiport for years already. I think over the next year or two, this airport will take over as the worlds busiest.

I noticed that this airport is also really ready to take on the largest A380 airplanes, double decker all the way. The aero bridges were large and designed for a double storey loading. Btw, did you see that one odd post I made about the A30? Check it out here.



The inside is quite jaw dropping. The tall sweeping roof gives ones the feeling of how immense this swanking new airport is.

You see, one of my biggest problem about making this trip on time is applying for a visa. I had to get one in 40 hours before the plane left. Lucking I managed to get it with 8 hours to spare. Touch and go.

The immigration people were really friendly. They actually smiled and say “welcome” to me. The officer is like a cute next door neighbor, not someone who look like tasked with protecting the national border. 🙂 I always tense up clearling the American immigration. I understand that. It is because the US Homeland Security has a serious task at hand. This country does not (yet) need to deal with security at that level. The worse they need to deal with with diseases because I can see scanners in some places to see if you are running a fever or something like that.

Wow, I felt I fit right at home. Just as long as I don’t open my mouth.


There was a mass of humanity at the arrival section. And very loud, like a market. Everywhere I go after this, there are a lot of people on the go and so busy with something. Truly one cannot ignore the progress of this country and this city. I think that people will need to spend a few hours in the city to feel the real impact of what is going on. I felt it and as much as I read about it, what I saw was beyond what I imagined.

To tell the truth, this country has a lot of rough edges. Waiting in line for one is not a virtue for some people I guess. I had many people deliberately cut right in front of me while waiting for a taxi. The social progress will follow I am sure. But for now, I just gotta take it in stride.


Oh wow, the hotel I stayed in is marvelous. When I checked in, they directed me to a seating area and served me tea while they get everything prepared. The front office manager then personally show me to the executive suite at the top of the high rise hotel. Wow, I had never had this sort of service before.

I was surprised that the company’s travel services selected this hotel and for that an executive suite for me. I am not complaining.


Very nice and comfy room to say the least. The bath room, you can see through that glass wall. I thought it was weird doing it that way. Yeah, you can see the “can” from the bed too. Hehehe … I am sure that if Suanne is here, she would find it disgusting to watch me unload my dump in the  morning.


Nice working area. I need that proper desk to work on stuff. Felt like an office table.

50″ HDTV. Nothing special programs to watch. Mostly in the local language with the same American news and movie channels. Too bad they don’t have CBC’s Hockey Night here.

Oh, Canucks lost game 3 huh? Too bad I missed out in the action.



Lots of things hidden nicely in drawers.


Everything you need is provided. Sewing kits is something I have heard of but never seen in real life. They even have “dental kits” too.

There is emery board. That is for filing the heels isn’t it? And then there is something called the “Loofah” … what is that for? What I like best is the comb! LOL! I had not have one of those pocket ones since I was a small boy. My late dad taught me to have one.


Yeah, after so many hours in the air, I really needed to brush my teeth.

Took a shower and then I headed out. I just can’t wait!

So, anyone guessed yet where I am now? Tell me when is your “aha” moment on this post.

Wait a few more hours. I want tell you more about the food here!

This Post Has 50 Comments

  1. Sunny

    i want to guess Taipei, but the airport looks awfully quiet, what’s sure is that they use Chinese and I can’t spot any simplified Chinese…

    1. Sunny

      i take my guess back, I’m wrong, I know the answer but I spoil it for others just yet…

      1. Ben

        You need to tell everyone Sunny. And why you think it is that place.

        1. Sunny

          I think it’s Beijing because of the pic of the roof of the terminal, I found a pic from google where the terminal roof looked just like the airport you were in

  2. ShopaholicinVan


    1. Ben

      Singapore is not the answer. Changi is no longer a hub as it used to be.

  3. sasa


    1. Ben

      Malaysia? Nope. It’s the city with the second most busiest airport. Malaysia’s airport barely touches the top 20.

  4. merileee


    1. Ben

      Heathrow? Definitely not. Won’t fly 2/3rd way around the world to LHR flying eastward would I. YVR to LHR is flying east bound,

  5. Peter


    1. Ben

      Chengdu? Nope. But you have the right idea.

  6. Michele


    1. Ben

      Japan? Nope, but the direction is correct.

    1. Ben

      Hmmm … I don’t think Russia can be considered a culinary mecca.

  7. David

    somewhere british… since pecksniff is british…

  8. Dave

    I would say Beijing. Even though there are direct flights from Vancouver to Beijing, if you were to make a non-direct flight in short notice, Hong Kong is logical stop-over because there are tons of flights between HK and Beijing, like one every 30min.

  9. Peter


  10. Elaine

    I would just guess somewhere in China hahaha

  11. Kai

    I think Dave is right. Beijing Capital Intl.

  12. TimeToChow

    difinitely Beijing

  13. jem

    I’d say Beijing! =)

    You’re lucky to get paid to travel.

  14. audrey

    I want to say Beijing from the style of the airport. I was in Beijing last Summer and their airport had that style of ceiling.

    However, looking at the picture you took of your destination from the airplane, those painted blue and red/pink roofs remind me of what Shanghai did last year during the expo, painting the city’s roofs different colours to give life to the city when tourists came…

    But then, I think someone posted Shanghai before the 21st on the last blogpost, and you said no one guessed correctly in the last post…

    Eh. Beijing.

  15. ChristineT

    I think it’s Hong Kong. The mountains and condos look familiar in your first pic.

    1. ChristineT

      Ah crap. I didn’t realize that you had already spilled the beans. That’s what I get for skimming through the article.

  16. JR

    Been a fan of yours since being introduced to your site through a friend and have been reading it non-stop…it’s informative and I love that you’re so honest and it’s your POV. Makes me want to fly to Vancouver all the time to eat at the restaurants!!

    Since I work in the aviation industry as well, I felt compelled to leave a comment as this blog was so much fun to read and has everyone guessing…love it!!

    I’m guessing Shanghai……it’s about 764 miles (1229km) from Hong Kong…so that would take about 2.5hrs flying time???

  17. Eat. Travel. Eat!

    Beijing! Terminal 3 correct? And flying on Dragonair…the food looks better than what you had on CX.

    Actually the scene of the blue houses is quite common all over China.

    Loofa is a scrub, and is from a dried plant. (“si gua” I think). The hotel looks somewhat like the JW Marriott especially with the pillow layout but those toiletries are different from what JW Marriott used to have.

    With the bathroom there’s actually a blind to cover the glass, it’s interesting why hotel designers these days like glass or frosted glass to enclose the bathroom whether it be only on the door or entirely.

    1. Eat. Travel. Eat!

      *common as in when flying over in some other cities in China you’ll see a similar scene. 🙂

    2. Ben

      Hi Eat. Travel. Eat: You rock! On every count. Seems like you are a seasoned traveller yourself too. That’s right about the hotel too, I am impressed. It is a hotel within the Marriott brand. 🙂 Ben

      1. Eat. Travel. Eat!

        Ah the one next door? 😉 I’m just lucky, I stayed nearby where you were staying once during my trip to China.

        I knew JW Marriott wouldn’t be correct as it features gold colors instead of red but who knows…haven’t actually been in the one next door (Ritz Carlton). Both look quite similar in layout though.

  18. You shouldn’t suck me in like this, but I can’t resist! I don’t like guessing because I don’t like being wrong LOL, but — Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City?

  19. Ashley


  20. Pinoy Gourmet

    Beijing capital using the new terminal,one look at the roof is dead giveaway.

  21. Billy

    2 1/2 hours from HK, served by Dragon air….and ppl speak Cantonese, i would venture to say it is Hainan Island

  22. Anna

    You know I was brushing my teeth before I saw this post and I thought- Melbourne, Australia! But now seeing the Chinese writing on your hotel amenities – I think I’m wrong.

  23. TimeToChow

    JS, Dragon air flies to Hanoi not HCMC.
    Its’ 3-4 hours flight there from HKG.
    Ben said 2 and half hour.
    Taipei and manila and under 2 hours. So where in the world is Ben?

    I think Ben gave away a few more clues here,
    ‘In the northern reaches of the vast city, I could see the mountains which served as a barrier to invading forces over centuries. I will definitely be going to visit the mountains. It is a must for everyone’
    sound like ur talking about the great wall …?

    But Beijing is like 4-5hrs. so not Beijing either>??

    1. Ben

      Hi TimeToChow: Yeah, I was talking about the Great Wall.

  24. TimeToChow

    I agree it has to be Beijing. It would be the second busiest airport.
    It takes a little over 2 and a half hour from HKG to Beijing. My bad I though it was 4 hours.

    1. That’s what I thought too, about Beijing 4-5 hours away from Hongkong. Going by sheer numbers alone, I would think any big city in China would still be “culinary meccas” compared to Vancouver. 😉

  25. LotusRapper

    My guess is SHENZEN (in Guangdong Prov.), China

  26. Lily

    Hi Ben,

    I’d say you’re in Beijing, and you’re staying at the Renaissance Beijing Capital Hotel (of the Marriott chain). You took Cathay Pacific from YVR to HKG, than transfer to Dragonair for the HKG to PEK leg. You would have landed at Beijing Capital International Airport. Am I right?

    1. Ben

      OMG, Lily: How did you guess right down to the hotel?!? Bet you even know which room I am staying in huh? LOL Ben

      1. Lily

        Hi Ben,

        Hahaha… You’ve already told us that you’re staying in one of the executive suites on the top floor! Couldn’t be that hard to pinpoint the room. LOL! Enjoy your visit to Beijing. Can’t wait for your updates.

  27. JohnH

    Tianjin, China. Flying North for 2.5 hours with Dragan Air.

  28. freckydee

    Beijing! 🙂

  29. Chris

    Hey LotusR, Shenzhen is max 2 hours by train from HK! I think Ben is likely in Beijing.

  30. Ben

    Hi All:

    Thanks for playing along. It was fun reading your guesses about where I am right now. Yup, I am in Beijing and this being a major transportation hub of the country and soon moving on to set the pace for the aviation industry, it is an exciting moment for me to be here. Gosh! I had a great time yesterday and today and I got so much to share with you all. The food here is unbelievable and they are at every corner. I’ll share a bit with you for the next day or two and then I will need to tune out to focus on my mission here.


    1. Eric

      Why didn’t you just fly from YVR to Beijing direct?

      1. Ben

        There wasn’t any available if I wanted to get to Beijing on Saturday morning. The later flights will only leave me lesser time to deal with jetlag and ready for meetings on Monday. So, it was a better choice to fly YVR-HKG-PEK than YVR-PEK directly.

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