On the 7th, I called my Mom in North Highlands, California, and asked her to go to the Bank of America and find out what was happening with my pay check. After that, and a few how are you's we hung up, not talking about Vietnam at all. When I told her I was staying at the Hilton, she lectured me on spending too much money! At least she didn't warn me about becoming a drunken lush like the Air Force Major that lived next door to her!
I was sad after talking to her, because I knew she had no concept of what it meant to be in the service, and in the ten years that have passed since I went on active duty, I know she had no clue at all.
We checked back at the tailor shop, had a fitting, and more drinks, and the owner promised that everything would be ready the next day (the 8th). All this was early in the morning, and we spent the rest of the 7th on a tour of Hong Kong.
It included a ride up the funicular going up Victoria Peak, and a ride through the New Territories. We stopped at a spot, about half a klick away from Red China! There was some traffic back and forth, and I remarked that the border here was not as tight as the border between East and West Germany. We then went to a small village, and for a couple of coins, an old lady in a very wide brimmed hat let us take her picture. The guide said permission always had to be asked before taking pictures because the Chinese believed that the camera captured their souls.
I was impressed with the ocean side of Hong Kong Island, steep cliffs and lots of huge rocks. The guide told us this is where the pirate junks hung out a half a century ago, or so. Certainly, Hong Kong was crowded, big apartment buildings, with laundry hanging off every balcony. And people, people, people!
We were taken to Happy Valley Amusement Park, and it certainly wasn't like the parks we have in the States. More of merry statues and gardens, rather than rides. We also went to the Happy Valley Race Track, where we were told the crowd was mostly British.
After the tour, it was a quick dip in the pool, and then out for the evening with Kay's cousins. They treated us well.
The 8th was spent rather lazily. We went to the Navy Exchange, a huge place, and I bought two big "Uncle Paul" pipes, with big bowls, and curved stems; and a green and grey some kind of stone chess set for my collection for only $40.
Then, back into town, and I bought beaded sweaters for Liliane and her mother for $5 apiece! Great prices, and I bought four sweaters.
Then back to the tailorshop, and our stuff was ready! The owner said he would mail the stuff back to Soc Trang for us, and we filled out a customs slip.
There was a huge (used that word a lot, today) Red Chinese department store across the street from the Hilton, and we had been briefed that it was off limits to us, that we had to have certificate of origin for anything we bought. Joel went in there, anyway, and I went to the pool.
Our last evening in Hong Kong, and we invited Kay's cousins to dinner on us at the Hilton, and a good time was had. The only damper was knowing that we had to be at Kai Tak Airport in the morning, in uniform, to go back to war!
The last night, after Kay's cousins left, was not good. Joel went out and brought a girl in to his room. But, I never did that type of thing; and I was feeling sorry for myself and lonely.
San Francisco was a long ways away. Germany, with Liliane, Don, and John (whom I had yet to meet) was a long damn ways away. And tomorrow I was going back to Vietnam. What a fucking way to live!