Thursday, January 24, 2008

Moving to Hong Kong by Saigon Charlie

24 August 1990 - Friday

As the world races to war in the Middle East, I open this journal from Hong Kong. I am going to try and back fill the six or so days since I have been here in Hong Kong with the following pages.

Today was to be very light as I am recovering from a very severe cold which has tried to keep me down for the past four days. I had planned on going to the top of Victoria Peak on the tram and returning, but instead I got to the top and decided to walk down, where I ended up at Hong Kong University, eventually catching a bus to Aberdeen.

"The Peak", as it is known, is a little bit disappointing. To be fair, that was probably due to the haze which reduced the visibility considerably. Actually, what you can/should see is nothing less than spectacular. The cost to get to the top was $8 HK and another $1 HK to get to the upper viewing platform.

Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong as seen from "The Peak"
August 1990

After seeing what there was to see and having made my decision to walk down instead of ride down, I start following a trail off the top of this very tall hill. The trail I took wound down a very long and winding path shaded by trees and was actually quite pleasant and even cool. Given my state of health at the time, it probably wasn't one of my smarter decisions but I'm glad I did it in spite of being very tired afterwards.

Eventually, the trails exits at Hong Kong University. The University is in the "summer doldrums" with only a few students here and their taking orientation tours. Searched around campus a bit to see if any departments had any graduate courses/teaching positions available that might interest me. There were some neat, well organized bulletin boards at a place called "Appointments" which could be something to refer to at a later date.

After there, I walked across the street and caught a bus to Aberdeen ($2.50 HK) where I got off right at the main waterfront where the major group of junks are tied up and the "fish market" takes place. Almost got accosted several times by little old ladies who wanted to take me on harbor tours. Somehow I was expecting a greater number and concentration of vessels here but maybe that is just my impression from the movies. Maybe I missed them but I doubt it.

I than walked on around the channel, feeling my way down several streets, eventually finding a marina at the end of one that I had seen off in the distance from the waterfront before. It actually got complicated trying to find the place and took be longer than I thought it would.

In the course of this walk, I ran into two French women and an American. Somehow we ended up setting at the Aberdeen Marina Club's very posh outside pool together. Obviously a private place but with no one saying anything, we set down and enjoyed the surroundings and shared a few stories and laughs. The wait staff actually were nice to us and let us buy a few beers with cash. I guess the normal thing for members is you sign for it. None of their names I can remember now but the American did say he was from Chevy Chase, Maryland and was a banker (most recently in Sydney) and was basically hanging out. The girls were from Paris and had been traveling the world for almost a year. They had met in Australia, had just left Thailand and were now here in Hong Kong. They were headed for mainland China tomorrow.

Cassidy the Cat in Hong Kong

My beloved Cassidy who literally circled the globe with me.

Spoke with Susan this AM after she called. She was really out of sorts due to Cassidy's flight be cancelled as the plane was commandeered by the US government to move men and material the Middle East. How can that be more important than getting my cat to Hong Kong I ask? She had had to spend a full day on the phone to re-arrange his transport to Hong Kong. It finally was established that he could fly in the cargo hold all the way through to Hong Kong. We will be permitted to take him ourselves to the kennels for the quarantine period that the British government requires here. Somehow, none of this makes any sense to me. What's to keep us from not taking him to the kennels? I have a feeling if we are careful, we can avoid all this insanity.

Susan and I at Christmas at Discovery Bay on Lantau Island in Hong Kong - 1990

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