It was far too early of a morning on the 9th day. It was probably around 5am when my brother and I got the wake-up call from my parents. I struggled to get out of bed and then had a shower. Most of my packing had been completed the night before, so I was ready to go in no time. Around 6:30am, we headed over to Sha Tin Plaza to meet with Li and Kuen for a farewell breakfast. The restaurant didn't open until 7am, so we spent some time just waiting outside trying to stay awake. The restaurant opened just as Grace's parents arrived, and we all sat down together and ordered our meal. I got a pretty basic ham and egg breakfast with toast. It was pretty good. I also ordered a coffee, which was made in the Hong Kong style with condensed milk. The coffee was okay, but the condensed milk always leaves a chalky texture in my mouth which I don't really enjoy.
Once we were all finished breakfast, we made a quick stop back at the hotel to grab our bags, and then headed to the bus stop to head off towards the airport. Li and Kuen came with us all of the way, which was a good thing, since the terminals are split on two different sides of the Hong Kong airport and it was somewhat confusing trying to find out way around. My parents flight to Hainan province was on one end of the airport and left about 30 minutes before my flight. We spent a lot of time walking back and forth between the two terminals, but I saw my family off to Hainan. They would stay there for another week before coming back to Hong Kong for a day to catch their flight home. As for me, I had to head straight back to Ottawa for work. I was really sad to leave Hong Kong. The city was far more wonderful than I remembered, and Grace's parents invited me to return the following year. I'm almost positive I will be back.
Unfortunately, my flight home was not a direct flight, and I had to transfer in Beijing. It was only three hours to Beijing from Hong Kong, and it was a very different climate. While the day had been a sunny 25 degrees Celsius, it was a cloudy 6 degrees in Beijing. Once the plane was grounded, we exited the craft on the runway and were bused to the airport terminal, which seemed very strange to me. Once inside, it was a very long wait through screening and customs. While waiting in line for the transfer, I met a nice young woman from Vancouver who was on her way to Korea for her sisters' wedding. We passed the time waiting in line chatting about our travels and such. Overhearing a conversation while waiting in line, I learned that the transfer wait usually isn't so long, but there were several flights of transferring passengers arriving at the same time. One flight included 120 transferring passengers, so the customs agents were a little overwhelmed. After nearly two hours of waiting, I was finally cleared and ushered through customs. I raced off to find my flight, and 13 excruciating hours later, I was back home in Canada. It was cold when I arrived, but at least there was no snow. Already I was missing the warmth and sun of Hong Kong. Only one more year before my next visit.