Such was our whirlwind tour of Shanghai and Hong Kong, sandwiched in between our busy schedule.
We had gone on a business trip hosted by Shanghai United Media Group, meeting delegates from Brazil, Russia, India and China as part of the Brics Media Forum.
The experience was enlightening and informative as we strengthened relations. That was our mission and it was accomplished unaware that we would later that week tackle a mission of a different kind.
We toured Shanghai, their industrial hubs, and got insight into a new multi-use city, Lingang, which is planned as Shanghai expands exponentially.
Then there was the world’s second tallest building, the Shanghai Tower. It will leave you dizzy, standing at 632m. But I never flinched at the top of the 128-storey mega-tall skyscraper in Lujiazui, Pudong. Reason? It was an overcast day and all I saw was white puffy clouds.
Then there was the Shanghai Museum, a cruise along the Huangpu River and visit to a silk factory, and a 100% pure duvet cover, pillows and some silk scarves later we were on our way.
The Bund is spectacular and we had to shop along Nanjing Road, a 1.5km long pedestrian walkway to shop and shop and shop.
But when it was time to head home to our families in Cape Town, we had one last unplanned stop. Hong Kong Disneyland. This is magical experience for the whole family - or kid in every adult. Queues were long but we spent nine happy hours there, visiting princess castles and the carousal in Fairyland, roller-coasters like the Big Grizzly, Mountain Runaway Mine Cars and not forgetting the smell of cookies or other things sweet in the air, which lure you to the nearest restaurant or food vendor.
A burger meal will set you back about R150 and a bottle of water costs R58 after the HK dollar is converted to rand (1HK$ is R1.70).
In Tomorrowland, the virtual reality experience was something to behold - saving the day with Iron Man was awesome.
Being flung in the air by some gigantic monster, having the windscreen smashed and gushing in made you feel you were literally on the streets of Hong Kong.
Well done to the special effects guys. Mission accomplished.
Note to self: next time wear shorts - it gets super hot out there. And buy yourself a pair of Mickey Mouse sandals for R300 bucks.
If you find yourself stuck at Hong Kong International Airport, do not fret. My colleague Riana Howa and I found ourselves in a tricky situation: Take another lengthy flight via Dubai to get home, or hang around the airport for 24 hours.
The latter wasn’t too bad a choice seeing as there was free wi-fi and enough charging points to go around, as thousands made their way through the bustling airport.
If I sound out of breath, it’s because this place leaves you breathless. Now for some shut eye as a 13-hour flight home lies ahead. After this life-changing experience, I wouldn’t mind being stuck at Hong Kong International again some day soon.
* Jade Otto is deputy editor of the Cape Argus.