June 16, 1961 – Hong Kong (Gene)

Hotel Miramar
134, Nathan Rd.
Hong Kong

Dear Val* and all,

We arrived in Hong Kong on schedule after a pleasant flight via Air France. None of the stewardesses or pursers (apparently male stewards) seemed to take things seriously in the matter of attention to passengers (quite unlike the frenetic attention to detail by their American counterparts). But when it came to mealtime it seemed that the entire complex of air flight had been devised as an elaborate contrivance to serve exquisite meals, in several courses, with champagne, wines, liqueurs, etc. One entrée was a salmon steak which Jonnie identified as lox, and devoured. Ruthie slept through it all. When she woke up she ate two apples and drank lots of milk. Both have been eating wisely and excellently.

They were exhausted when we arrived here at 3:30 pm after going through customs at the airport. We put them in bed at four and they slept until 8 pm. We ordered sandwiches and milk for them and sandwiches and coffee for us in our room which is an old room in a hotel far less snazzy than the Nikkatsu Hotel. They woke up at four and then slept again until seven. Ruthie had picked up the beginnings of a runny nose…the air conditioning here and in Tokyo consists of blasts of frigid air streaking through the rooms.

This morning we took the ferry from our side (Kowloon) to the island of Hong Kong to shop for a typewriter and a lightmeter, both of which we bought .. an Olympia “SPLENDID ((“ for $55 (could have saved a few dollars by shopping but not on a hot day with two tired kids who had to be alternately carried), and a Weston IV lightmeter at about $22. I bought a watch for $27, something called “Tissot.” Anita is having a suit made that she will describe to you all, made of exquisite Thai silk … skirt, blouse and jacket, for $44. That’s all the major shopping we plan and we managed that mainly by spelling each other with the sleeping or resting kids. Last night, at Anita’s fitting for her suit in a tiny room lined with bolts of cloth (a room in our hotel) the kids were sitting in chairs. I was there in another chair and about five Chinese men and the tailor were working there also. Jonnie turned to Ruthie and said, “I’m Maxie, you’re Sophie.* What did you do today Sophie?” Ruthie said, “I want to be Maxie.” Jon .. “No, you’re a girl, you be Sophie.” Seemed strange to hear this in such unusual surroundings. I guess if one has lots of money and time and no delightful little encumbrances who need to go to the potty or ask to be carried or get thirsty where there is questionable water or don’t want to hold your hand in busy traffic, the real bargains could be searched out. You’ll understand that I won’t have too many tourist pictures to bore people with. With us all is going well.

Love from all of us … will write again soon.

Gene and Anita

* Max and Sophie were Gene’s parents – Jon and Ruth’s grandparents. Val was Gene’s twin brother.

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