October 13, 1961 – Hong Kong

Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong, China – Clear

      When I woke up this morning I was upset because my throat felt a little scratchy even though it felt good knowing I was finally in Hong Kong where I would get to meet Peggy.  I was determined that my time here in Hong Kong would be used to the fullest so I wasn’t going to allow myself to get sick.

      After breakfast Edith and I went out with a few others to shop.  I particularly wanted to find some silk.  I felt like a little kid getting into the little rickshaw waiting in front of the hotel because I’d always wanted to ride in one.  After much riding and walking around we finally found an area that had some intriguing shops.  It was such a gay time looking through all the little shops at all the pretty outfits, materials and items for sale.  I couldn’t resist buying a couple of jackets and some brocade to have an outfit made.  I had to haggle to get the price I wanted but in the end I was happy with what I paid.

Rickshaw in Frong of Hong Kong Hotel

      When it was time to meet Peggy, Edith and I found another rickshaw to take us back to the hotel so we could meet my darling pen pal.  Once inside the lobby I could tell in an instant that one of the little ladies standing there was Peggy from a picture she had sent me.  Peggy had brought a friend with her.

      After exchanging greetings and introductions I treated Peggy, her friend Mirana and Edith to lunch at a nearby place that Peggy recommended.  It was nice to have someone who understood the language to navigate the restaurant menu for us and find our way around.

      Lunch was fun as Edith and I chatted like giddy school girls with Peggy and Mirana.  We shared all about some of the things we’d seen so far on the trip.  Peggy was especially interested to hear about what we’d seen in Taipei because of their recent celebration.  Both girls wanted to know what we were specifically interested in shopping for and they told us about some of the specialty shops in Hong Kong which would have what we wanted.

      Once our lunch was done Peggy took us to a section of town that we hadn’t seen before to find out what those shops had to offer us.  After only a few minutes I wished I hadn’t bought anything that morning because of what I found here after meeting up with Peggy.  We found the shops Peggy showed us offered us more quality items and presented better deals for what we were looking for.  Peggy helped me find exactly what I was looking for and I was much happier with the prices than what I’d haggled for earlier that day.  Peggy helped me pick out and purchase a suit coat for me and two men’s suits, one each for Ray and Bob.  Then she took me to a tailor who was going to fix them to meet the specifications I had brought with me for both men.

      Edith and I spent several happy hours going from shop to shop finding things we wanted under the tutelage of Peggy and Mirana.  After we were done shopping Peggy and I dropped off Edith back at our hotel and Mirana at her home before we headed for her apartment.  Peggy wanted to take me home to introduce me to her mother. 

      At her apartment Peggy introduced me to her mother who was even tinier than her and just as gracious.  Peggy’s mother didn’t speak English so Peggy had to translate back and forth between us which made conversation between us a little slow.  After we visited awhile and took pictures I asked Peggy and her mother if they would allow me to take them to dinner and they agreed to accept my hospitality. 

      I hired a taxi to take all three of us to a restaurant that Peggy recommended.  Once we were seated and the waitress brought us menus, Peggy went over it and showed me how to understand what each dish was so I could order something I liked.  Peggy was a very patient teacher but I wasn’t a very good student so she had to help me order when the time came.  When the food came it was so good I couldn’t get enough of it.  The dishes we’d ordered had similar names as those I’d seen in restaurants back in Ventura but they didn’t taste anything like them.  They seemed to taste better although I couldn’t pin point the difference and I wondered if maybe they had used herbs or seasoned them differently than I was used to.  Of course I couldn’t help wonder if real difference wasn’t that I was eating these dishes here in Hong Kong, not Ventura.  By the time we finished eating I felt quite close to Peggy and her mother.  We made plans to try and see each other again the following day even though I was scheduled to tour Hong Kong.  I promised Peggy I would look over the itinerary and get back to her later on if we could meet again.

      When Peggy dropped me off at my hotel I gave her money to pay for the taxi home so she wouldn’t have to use her own funds.  I’d come to realize Peggy and her mother were really very poor.  I didn’t want my visit with them to cost them anything.

      Back in my room I realized that I wasn’t feeling very well and that it wasn’t just tiredness.  I had Edith feel my forehead and she said it felt warm.  Since my throat was bothering me worse and I couldn’t help but keep coughing I decided I must be suffering a bout of bronchitis.  I had had a case of bronchitis last winter and my symptoms seemed to be similar to when I’d been sick before.  I called the front desk to see if they could provide me with some medicine since I really didn’t want to be sick in bed the following day.  I really needed something to help me with the fever, cough and sore throat.  The clerk at the front desk told me they would send someone right up with some medicine and I was grateful they were willing to help me. 

      When the door opened I was surprised to see a tall blond lady there instead of someone oriental.  The lady, Miska, had brought me some aspirin and cough medicine I could use tonight and she told me that I should call the hotel’s doctor if I wasn’t better in the morning.  While I took the medicine, Edith and Miska talked and we found out she was Russian of all things.  She waited for several minutes after I took the cough syrup to make sure I didn’t need anything else before she left and I thought Miska had been very thoughtful.

      After Miska left I took a hot bath and went to bed because the cough syrup had made me sleepy.  As I started to doze off I made my apologies to Edith for all the coughing I was doing and I hoped I didn’t wake her up during the night.

Peggy Aw and her Mother at their Apartment

Another Picture of Peggy Aw and her Mother

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