Friday, 23 February 2007
Happy New Year from Hongkong
Kung Hei Fat Choy - Alison calling out Happy New Year in HK! What luck to be here for the New Year - all the shops and malls full of glittering red & gold displays - large peach blossom trees hung with red 'laisee' packets and lots of pigs - especially in pink plastic - Year of Pig, after all!!
We had no sooner arrived before we started meeting people - on our first night a couple of hours after we arrived we met 'godson' William - fresh from soldiering in Afghanistan; and after plying him with drinks in Lan Kwai Fong and being dumpling-ed back in the towering International Finance Centre we saw him on to the Airport Express (fab! tho' I got quite confused on arrival as to just where Lantau ended..)
We stayed with Francoise & Lung in their elegant old Tin Hau Temple Rd flat - could smell the incense from the New Year offerings from the worshippers drifting up from the temple, past the ancient banyan and fig trees (with, I'm glad to note, labels identifying them as worth preserving)...air damp and humid and moss and ferns poking out of retaining walls.
Out to Cheung Chau on a sunny day to rendezvous with more of Pauline and our friends - lunch with Jeremy, Lynn and Yan Tsuen on the waterfront - lots of reminiscing and a wander round the old places where we all used to live our lives in the 70's. Then tea with Robert & Kan in his studio, near the old temple that used to border the harbour and is now well inland behind even more reclamation.
And here we go..
...And also meeting (at last) Dr Dan who's helped so much with my father's War Diary and Vera, his glamorous wife .
Dan gave Tim an introduction to the HKU archivist so we did a little research for the 'China Walk' - where we hope to retrace my Pop's escaping footsteps from HK during the war - a project for 2008, we hope.
Our last night in Hongkong was quite a night - a fitting climax to a very happy week reliving old memories with good friends, visiting places I remembered from my childhood and we both remembered from the 70's - we ended up singing French songs in the FCC in the company of Tom & Jenny, Francoise and Bub (with a drop-in by Lung and an early-out by Vaudine and Kise (sp?)). I'm ashamed to say I reached the state where Tim had to peel my shoes off as I collapsed onto my bed - no way for Francoise's 'mother' to behave (the Filipino maid opposite had supposed this was who I was as I hung out yet more laundry).
Vaudine rounds up Tim's current roll-call of old East Asia Today chums - altho' she's looking pretty young! She's now covering HK for the BBC and others...