Monday, March 18, 2013

A Heartstopping First Morning in Hong Kong

I woke up early the next morning to a view of the Hong Kong Harbour between which was shrouded in fog. How appropriate, I was kind of foggy-headed anyway since I was up the most of the night anyway with a horrid cough and by the time  Susanna came round to go down stairs for breakfast I had already downed two cups of tea, two cups of coffee and several cups of hot water. 

The breakfast buffet was excellent with a cold buffet bar, cereal, yogurt as well as congee and an omelette bar. With breakfast done, we decided to go back to my room to run through the workshop one last time. It was as I was leaving the table I noticed that I had forgotten to zip up my fanny pack and - to my horror- my wallet was missing!! My wallet with my ATM card, cash and credit card. Cold sweat began to trickle down my brow as my throat dried up and I yelled in terror:"My wallet, it's gone!" It was one of those moments where you can actually feel yourself starting to poop in your pants and there is nothing you can do about it.

 Susanna stopped in her tracks. Wild-eyed, with my few wisps of hair standing on end, I  frantically asked the restaurant staff if they had seen a wallet, gesticulating wildly, trying to mime the international sign for wallet. They all replied in the negative, careful to do so cautiously for fear that I might lose it completely and stab someone with a spatula in my desperation.  I dropped my jacket and Susanna calmly picked it up and tried to get me to calm down - a futile task in that situation. I tried to retrace my steps and punched the elevator buttons for the lift. It was an excruciating wait, I have to say, and when the lift doors opened, I punched the number for our floor but it wasn't working. So we headed down to the lobby to ask if anyone had seen or turned in a wallet, only to be told that no one had. I felt faint, and whoozy, short of breath and ready to pass out. I couldn't imagine being alone in a country without any cash. I couldn't imagine Susanna dragging my unconscious form back to the hotel room.

 "Oh God, Oh God, Oh God don't do this to me again," is all I could say. When I say 'again', you can pretty much guess that I've lost my wallet at various times in my life - once in a Hong Kong MTR station, once during a tennis tournament in Hong Kong, once at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and once at Bras Basah Complex in Singapore.  I was fortunate that my wallet was returned with cash and credit cards intact on all of those occasions save one - in Singapore. Yes, in Singapore!!

Now back to my most recent wallet losing experience, which had me in a complete - for lack of a better word - tizzy. Finally a receptionist kindly told us that I had to slide my card key into slot before I could punch our hotel room floor in, which I did. The lift brought us to our floor and I dashed to my room like an  athlete on performance-enhancing drugs. All I could hear was a loud pounding in my head as I slid the card key into the slot and flung the door open. My wallet was no where to be seen. Although Susanna kindly offered to pay for the expenses I would incur, I didn't want her to do that! First I had to cancel my credit card, then I would have to call home to have some money wired over etc, etc, etc.

Then as my eyes scanned the room, I saw the sweet  looking battered and worn leather wallet that's been with me for years - my wallet!!! A quick check revealed everything was there. Bless the honest Hong Kongers I thought. Susanna let out the familiar sigh that most people who have been with me in such situations do, and then she exclaimed: "Dave Seow, you almost gave me a heart attack!" She then tipped the housekeeper who had placed my wallet on the table. I gave her another tip later on, expressing my gratitude in Cantonese, which she genuinely seemed to understand.  Susanna, thanks for being a ROCK through the whole ordeal, I hope you're there the next time I lose my wallet...To Be Continued

My sweet wallet. I could have kissed it, but it's fallen on
one too many toilet floors. :)

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