Those were the days.
‘What side do you want?’
The Canadian guy at check-in asked.
I answered with a blank expression.
‘Do you want the scary side?’
‘The scary side?’
‘First time to Hong Kong, eh?’
‘It’s OK, just a little hairy.’
‘All right. In for penny, right?’
He handed me a book of tickets for a right-hand window seat.
I boarded the Cathay 747 feeling a little apprehensive, but once settled in my seat I forgot our conversation at check-in.
Fifteen hours later as the giant machine made its final right turn on approach we entered a high-rise canyon. Looking across wing-tips into people’s bedrooms so close it seemed I could reach out and touch them, I had the answer to the scary side question. It was a fairground ride in the hands of experts who defied the odds every time they landed.
Things have changed — Kai Tak Airport’s been closed twenty years. No more white knuckle welcomes to the city of Hong Kong — now you find the fear on her streets.