Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tales from the weary traveller

Status: Survived 12 hours of being on a plane. Watched: Despicable me, 17 again, all of season 8 of Family Guy. Waiting to board plane to Fuzhou.

Oh man, I feel so sick. My brain is so confused about having not slept in what feels like forever and, what’s more, I’m sitting in Hong Kong International airport in my winter clothes –you know, because it’s winter here? Oh yeah, the outside air temperature is 22 °C. I cannot avoid the massive windows that surround this place. Did I mention I’m in winter clothes?

Don’t let the dress fool you. That is a thermal underneath the shirt and some VERY warm track pants. It’s also very hot outside.

Forgive the negativity. I’m not one for long flights. It seems that every time I travel internationally I am always “randomly” selected for an explosives screening while my fellow passengers look on. This time was no exception.

Status: am currently waiting at gate 41.
Looking after bags while my mother goes hunting for snacks and a drink. We only brought $15 HK with us because we are obviously very well travelled and know how to prepare for things like this. Lesson learned. It’s ok though, it was just enough for a drink. Local time is 16:19. Body is still in NZ time and, for the love of all that is good, GET SOME SLEEP! And maybe hydrate yourself.. Kids here are loud. Am reminded of why Grace hates kids.

Well thought out menu. Also in Chinese to cater for the non-english passengers.

The upside to all of this was the airplane food. I know right?? Maybe it’s due to my low expectations and previously traumatic experiences with on board meals or maybe it’s because Cathay Pacific has improved majorly since I last flew. Both my mother and I were pleasantly surprised at the quality as well as the portion sizes provided.

The menu was very well thought out and catered for people of all tastes. Except, of course, if you’re a picky eater in which case you will never be pleased and probably shouldn’t read this post as you’ll be sorely disappointed. Go away and come back soon when I post about awesome restaurants in Fuzhou and the other cities I will visit.

Clockwise from top: Fruit salad, butter-jam-milk for tea and croissant, orange juice, yoghurt, croissant and my meal: stir-fried noodles with minced pork and bean curd.

The first ever airplane meal I remember ordering was this terrible beef thing that had a fancy foreign name and came to me as a gelatinous yellow thing that didn’t resemble any sort of meat I had seen before (we flew Cathay Pacific, hence the poor expectations this time). My parents ordered some sort of chicken stir fry which I thought was incredibly boring (“We’re Chinese! We can get this any time!”) –it turned out to be a great choice. It was then that I vowed only to order familiar Asian dishes whenever I flew..

..And that’s what I did today. Good move, Lucy. Good move. My mother opted for different dishes for each meal so we could better appreciate the full menu.

Mothers meal: Caramelised onion and spinach frittata with baked beans, pork sausages and tomato
For breakfast, I ordered stir fried noodles with tofu (yeah I know, more lunchy.. but I love tofu) while my mother ordered a caramelized onion and spinach frittata (a more appropriate choice for breakfast. The sauce that covered the noodles and tofu was delicious and, before I could protest, mum had already stolen a piece of tofu (that’s 50%!!). She made up for it by giving me a bit of her frittata but it just wasn’t the same (me being weird about my onion and such).

Christmas cookies –full of cocoa and walnutty goodness

All the breakfasts came with a fruit salad, yoghurt, croissant and a special Christmas cookie that was beautifully presented. Highly enjoyable –well, for plane food.

Clockwise from top: Kumara and orange salad with shaved ham, pavlova, orange juice,bread roll and my meal: Braised chicken with ginger and vinegar sauce, steamed rice, pak choy and carrot.

For lunch/dinner (I say this because I am unsure of what time zone we were in) I ordered braised chicken with chinese veggies while mum ordered beef tagine with orzo. I found my chicken to be a little too salty but, again, I fully appreciate that it’s airline food and probably very good for what it is. Mum’s beef was delicious! If our meals hadn’t come with so many accompaniments, I probably would have more of it. It actually had the texture of meat, even the type of meat that had been stewed for a while –I knew better than to ask. Mum tried to be adventurous and ordered tomato juice with her meal. While this sounds like a much healthier choice than the sugar laden soft drinks and fruit juices don’t, I repeat DON’T, order this! It is the vilest thing I’ve had in my entire life! Unless you like drinking ketchup.. Then go ahead. I dare you!

Mother’s meal: Braised beef tagine with punpkin and pea orzo.

All the lunch/dinners came with a kumara, mandarin and ham salad, bread roll and mini pavlova. The salad was covered in a light, eggy mayo and the pavlova was absolutely divine! It was covered in whipped cream and some passionfruit sauce which left me wanting more. A vegetable korma was also available for choosing.

About to board flight now. Will continue this later. Having dinner on this flight!

The food on this flight was not worth blogging about. We had a hamburger (with Christmas ham) for dinner –the only upside was that it was warm and was swimming in cheese which was just what I needed at the time.

Status: Exhausted. Don’t care what time it is anywhere. Am going to bed.

I realise this post wasn’t about food as much as me moaning about my travel experience. I promise it’ll be more about food when I’m more refreshed. My dad tells me that we are booked for dinner every night we are here so I’m sure there’ll be heaps to write about.

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