Our first impression of Hong Kong was from the airplane as we flew through the maze of high rise buildings as the flight approached the landing strip. I was sure our plane brushed the laundry hanging outside the windows of the apartments we could see through the plane windows. I am sure all the passengers inhaled and held their breath until we landed at Kai Tak.
During our week on the island we had plenty of time to take in all the sights and sounds of that crowded, bustling diverse community.
Our busy lives at home were pretty hectic so the first couple of days we just stayed at our waterfront hotel, ordered room service, relaxed and enjoyed the view of all the harbour activity from our hotel room window.
We did take the junk trip to the other islands and watched our crew barter and procure some fish for lunch from another junk. This was fascinating to watch the back and forth on the pricing and quality and quantity of the fish, which was taken from a cache under the other junk and deposited in a similar cache under our junk. Our lunch was delicious and very fresh. We did quite a bit of sight seeing, but I must admit the food we consumed on that trip is what I remember most.
A missionary friend, who lived at the YWCA, in Hong Kong invited us to have a typical British Breakfast at the Peninsula Hotel. We had the usual rashers of British style bacon, mushrooms, fried potatoes, fried tomatoes, British Bangers, eggs, toast, butter and marmalade…..all with a lovely pot of tea.
The surprise of that event was the number of young Chinese men who came to our table to pay their respects to our hostess. Each one would kneel down in front of her and kiss her hand. They so very obviously had such esteem for our friend who chatted with each person in fluent Chinese. She explained to us that these young people had all been her “children” in her previous life when she was a working Christian Missionary and ran orphanages in mainland China.
These young “fans” kept appearing all the time we were in the Peninsula Hotel. Some of them were employees at the hotel, others were business men who had somehow heard she was there and had came to say hello. This hotel had easier access than the YWCA. The “Y” had the reputation of being the very best place in which to stay while visiting Hong Kong.
Another friend who lives in Hong Kong took us out to lunch at “Jimmy’s Kitchen” and that was the first time we had ever had “Fried Ice Cream” – and it was delcious too. We had the usual evening at the floating night club with dinner on Jumbo Kingdom, but I enjoyed the fish and chips more at one of the typically British Pubs on the Island called “The Beefeater”.
When we boarded our return Braniff flight we expected an ordinary flight with all meals,
but we did not expect the excitement that turned up about half way through our flight.
Since we were in First Class our seats were next to the cockpit with first hand view of what unfolded.
As we sat at the gate waiting to be called for our slot on the runway a passenger became too ill and frightened to fly and she was taken off the plane. This delayed our departure and we had to wait for another “slot”. Eventually the plane rolled away from the gate only to roll back to the gate again.
We were told there appeared to be a mechanical problem and we would have to have that checked before we could take off. No one was too perturbed at this juncture and it didn’t take too much time to find out that the “warning” was not a failure of any kind and we were “OK’d” for departure. By the time the flight was given another “slot” at the very busy airport of Kai Tak we were very late taking off.
Those of us in the first class cabin had eaten our lunch when we asked our steward why the plane had turned around. The steward started telling us that “No sir, the flight had not turned around and was proceeding normally” BUT, we, and other passengers, were all shaking our heads because we knew the plane had turned and was descending!
The steward came back and was quickly whipping away all the meal trays and telling us to fasten our seat belts.
We happened to notice outside our windows that we were being escorted by two MIGS and we were definitely landing!....but where? were somewhere out over the North Pacific Ocean in a big orange plane.
For the rest of the story go to Consequences.