Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I do not like Hong Kong already

I haven't even traveled there, yet, and I'm having trouble with it. It turned out I have to be there a day earlier than I planned, so had to change my flight. Since I'd bought the trip as a package through Expedia, there was a $200 fee to cancel the plane ticket and the hotel is non-refundable. Understood from the outset and it made no difference as regards the hotel; I'd just need to book an extra night, that's all.

Well, first I wanted to make certain everything was still all right with my reservation at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. So I sent repeated e-mails to the general manager asking if that was the case. Not once did he respond; no one did, in any way, form or fashion. I finally had to call and ask the reservations clerk. Yes, I was still booked, but now I can't get the 21 day advance reservation rate; I had to pay an extra $100US for the damned night, and they won't guarantee I'll be allowed to keep the same room my whole stay, since I effectively have two separate reservations. I may have to check out the morning of the 1st and check back in.

Well, then when I made the extra-night's reservation, I stupidly put down the date my plane is leaving instead of the day I arrive. I asked if they would just shift the reservation to the correct date. No. Wouldn't even consider it. It's non-refundable. Period. End of story. And even though I'm not asking for a refund, just a change on the date, it made no difference. So...I had to pay for yet another reservation if I wanted to have a place to sleep on the 30th, after 20 hours of travel. And the SOB I sent the e-mails to still has not responded to me. And I know he got them; I did "notify when read" on the last one and he did open it, at least.

Thing is, I've had this problem with other Pacific Rim countries -- this non-response. The people organizing the book fair are based in Australia and Japan, but you think you can get them to tell you anything about how it's going to work until you're all but screaming at them that if they won't tell you when you'll be allowed to move your clients into the venue, you won't bring them into that damned city? No. Only THEN will they give you half the information you asked for, and then some of that is incorrect!

I also contacted the venue, itself, to ask for information and they did not respond to me, either. Again, I know they read the message. Well, at least they opened it. And I learned from a couple of other people who've dealt with Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore and the like that it's not unusual. It's best to just make a phone call from the outset and get the thing over with.

Oh, I am so NOT looking forward to this trip. It's already cost hundreds more than it was budgeted for, apparently I can't get free WiFi from this hotel even though they advertise it, and I'm now having to change planes in Newark because the only non-stops from Toronto have jacked their prices up by 50%.

I used to love to travel, but it seems like everyone wants to make it into so much of a chore, all the pleasure is being taken out of it. I'm actually planning to drive to a job in Washington DC rather than have to mess with the airlines. Same for a job in New Haven in February. It just isn't worth the hassle to fly, anymore.

If I ever do hit the lottery and move to Ireland, I'm going by boat.

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