Hong Kong is beautiful! We are twisting between the mainland and Victoria Island, on the way into Kai Tak International Airport. The hills on either side of the plane are covered with white houses and buildings, and I am reminded of San Francisco and Seattle. We land in mid-afternoon, and are taken in for processing.
We are given the usual briefing - we are representatives of the US, watch our behavior, watch our wallets, watchout for the whores, don't get rip snorting drunk, etc., etc. And, we are reminded we have to be back here in five days, or we are AWOL!
Joel and I are staying at the Hilton in Victoria; while most the others are staying in other hotels in Kowloon. An Army bus takes us around to all the hotels, and soon Joel and I, and ten enlisted men are being driven up to the Hilton Hotel. We drive into the lower lobby, and a manager boards the bus and apologizes for asking us to double up because a Japanese Dental Convention is staying over. No sweat, for any of us.
The enlisted men are taken care of first, put in double rooms, and the manager says he is putting me and Joel up on the top floor in the Princess Suite, at no extra cost. (Hey, sometimes rank does have it's privileges!)
The manager asks what we like to drink, and Joel says, "Jim Beam," and I say, "Hell, No! I like Scotch!" We are escorted to the elevator by a bell boy, and whisked up to the second to top floor, and down a long hall way, with a soft red carpet. I like this place already!
The bell boy opens the door to the Princess Suite, and there on the coffee table is a tray of hors deorves and a bottle of Jim Beam and a Bottle of Glenlivet! There is a typed card, "Complements of the management to Captains Joel xxxxx, and St. Clair. Apologies for the inconvenience!"
Inconvenience, my arse! We each have a separate bed room. The carpet is red and soft, and we sink into it. An assistant manager follows us in, and asks if everything is ok? We assure him it is, and he opens our booze, and pours each a drink.................Good! All this for $11 per day!
There is a big bath room, with a real honest to goodness bath tub, and we flip a coin, and Joel takes the first bath! A good half hour soak! So, I call Liliane in Germany! First time I hear her sweet voice since January. And what does she say to me?
"Where are you? What are you doing in Hong Kong? Where is our money? My checks are bouncing at American Express!" My pay is going to the Bank of America, North Highlands, California, branch. And she is writing checks at American Express in the Vogelweh Shopping Center in Kaiserslautern, and the last few have bounced! So I tell her not to worry, etc. etc. We have a damn good conversation, and even though I'll be home in just over three months, it still seems like a long time. Especially after I say hello to Don, my 7 year old, and hear John, not quite two months old, cry! I am damn near crying myself after we hang up.
Now, we have a shower in the engineer house, at the MACV Compound in Soc Trang. But, a leisurely bath, after nine months. Wow!
I want to go out and eat dinner at a real Chinese restaurant, and Joel sez he doesn't like Chinese food! "What the fuck did you come here, for," I ask? And we decide to eat in the hotel's top floor restaurant.
We go up a floor, and are told we need jackets and ties! We have neither, and are told we can go to the basement arcade and buy coats. I buy a maroon jacket, white shirt, and tie, for all of $12! And I have my Chinese dinner, and Joel his American steak.
Afterwards, we take the local tour of night spots in Hong Kong, and about the only thing that I can remember is watching a woman skin somekinda snake before selling it!
Our friend, Kay, has a cousin in Hong Kong, and we call her, and she invites us for dinner tomorrow.
Need I say, the real bed is great!