May 28th 1984

posted in: The way back | 1

Remarkably, after 2 nights running with very little sleep, I didn’t feel at all bad.  Val woke me at about 9, + after a shower, I was raring to go.  Today was a Monday, + we had business to attend to.  First stop was the Immigration Office, where we picked up our new HK passports.  Each of them was attached very firmly to our old ones, with ribbon passing thro’ holes in the rear cover of the new to the front cover of the old, + sealed on the inside of that with a large + impressive-looking wax seal.  The problem with having 2 rather than one, of course (one problem, anyway) is that we now have something the size of a thin paperback to fit into our moneybelts, more than compensating for the hugely diminished stack of travellers’ cheques we carry.

We paused for breakfast at this point, the same as yesterday, with the addition of Corn Flakes – then moved hostels to a place nearby called the IYAC.  We had intended to move here before, but had only found the place + given it a brief inspection yesterday afternoon.  It offers much the same as the Travellers’ Hostel: dorm accommodation, a TV lounge, a kitchen; + is even a little more expensive, $22 per person, but the compensations are that it is much smaller + friendlier.

Then, across to Hong Kong island to see if we had any mail waiting for us at the Amex office.  To our delight, we did.  Receiving mail has definitely been one of our most exhilarating experiences.  We collected them all up, + went off to a coffee house to read them in peace + comfort.  I was even more pleased that I had rung Mum yesterday, for there was no letter from her.  She had said something about it on the phone, but I hadn’t really caught it.  I can only imagine she has sent her most recent letters to Bangkok.  Which is crazy, since she forwarded a letter from Patrick alright.  However, there were: 2 letters from Val’s mum, a short card from Pete, a letter from Bernadette, the Patrick letter, + included in Val’s mum’s letters, short notes from Roger, Val’s cousin, + Marion.  No overly startling news, which is probably a very good thing, but Bernadette told us she had definitely telly the tapas; Patrick gave us a brief resume of his trip home; Pete has, at last, acquired a girlfriend (thank God for that, I was beginning to think he was celibate or gay); + Marion’s latest boyfriend is in Newton Abbot nick serving time for post office fraud – she + her mum have recently been to visit him.  Most annoyingly, we discovered that Pete’s recently composed mammoth letter + cassette are languishing in Bangkok’s Amex office (if they haven’t already been sent back) along with a letter from Mar, +, we are sure, quite a few others.  I immediately sent off another postcard there, reminding them to hang on to anything they might get.

Having satisfied ourselves for the present, we caught the ferry back.  Annoyingly, it had been a bright sunny day, almost our first in HK, + one which we had failed to take advantage of.  Still, if the weather holds, we’ll sight-see tomorrow.  It was my turn to cook tonight, + I was very angry with Val, who had popped out to get a little shopping, + was still out after an hour.  I had to let her soup grow cold, +was worried the whole dinner would spoil.  Worst of all, I felt such a fool, wandering back = forth between the kitchen + the lounge to see if she had returned yet.  As compensation, the meal was very tasty.  Later we walked up Nathan Rd to go to the night market.  I didn’t enjoy it, however – I wasn’t feeling all that wonderful, + the place was so crowded + bustling.  We did buy a few things however: a cheap cassette, a headphone adaptor + set of cheap headphones, + a T-shirt for me, a fake Polo one.

I suppose one thing that has been lost with the advent of instant communication in the modern world, is the joy of receiving letters; the very fact that their arrival is precarious makes them all the more precious.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    I absolutely agree about Poste Restante or Amex. I associate them with anticipation, joy, or disappointment. But what a blessing to travelers in the days before cell phones and internet. And having no instant communication made the travel more exciting and unique. There was more of an exchange of information between travelers going in opposite directions than reading books or checking Google. These days, travelers are so spoiled, but that sense of adventure is also spoiled.

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