Kai Tak

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?’

I nodded.

‘It’s OK, just a little hairy.’

‘All right. In for penny, right?’

‘Good man.’

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.


© Guaj 2023
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Excellent reflection of the changing times.

Remember it, a gigantic version of British rail with its brief window catches, a game as kids we played, swore I saw boobs once, so did we all.

The new AP is a trek and nice yet feels displaced if you remember the past.

Thanks for evoking memories (Boobs), enjoyed the ending, unsure if it was political or just changing times, however either seem apt.

Bit of fun fact and pertaining to the experience, the name Kai Tak was submitted four times for tropical Cyclones by Hong Kong,

Last edited 1 year ago by kjs68

Ha ha, the boobs were a very British a schoolchild thing, don’t think any of us saw boobs other that the minds eye or needing the credit.

Political was more on current events.

However gratitude for evoking the past, something we often ignor for the supposed future and being better.


So that is a real photo! That was one hell of a landing – and every time! I’ve been on some hair raising flights,(including Ariana Afghan) but never in a 747. A most enjoyable read.



Hi Guaj. I know what you mean about ‘interesting’ flights, but nothing as hair-raising as yours above. My girlfriend and I were stuck in Kabul in 1979, as the Soviet army was about to invade (we had planned to cross into Iran by the land boarder). The only way out was on an Ariana Afghan flight to Istanbul. The problem was our fellow passengers, primarily young men (mostly from Pakistan) bound for Europe, who’d never been on an airplane before. Once airborne the cabin crew retreated to the back of the plane, while our fellow passengers roamed up and down… Read more »


Turn right 45 degrees at the checkerboard for Runway 31. Never been to Kai Tak but I’ve used the flight simulator and that was hairy enough.
Excellent closing line, Guaj.

wow, I had a nightmare once upon a time and the plane was landing the same way! horrible feeling breathtaking and all… well written


The finale is absolute. The description of the view out of the starboard windows is clever. I liked the play on ‘right’ in the dialogue too. Nicely done.

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