Hong Kong in 1987

After six months in China, Hong Kong in 1987 seemed like another world. Air conditioning that worked, traffic jams and skyscrapers that looked modern and well-built. The availability of good food from all over Asia was like a dream.

My godfather’s son, Stephen Bourne, was kind enough to let me sleep in his spare room in the Discovery Bay apartment. He and I enjoyed many a sunset cocktail accompanied by smoked oysters.

He took me sailing in his Flying Fifteen in Hong Kong harbour and even let me crew for him in a race. I slowed us down by falling overboard but managed to hang on and climb back on board. Without my help, he would probably have won,

I spent my days preparing for an adventure in Tibet, which involved tracking down maps and lightweight camping equipment. Before long, I was ready and crossed the border into China and caught the train to Guangzhou. From there, I took a 64-hour sleeper train to Chengdu, where I caught a direct flight to Lhasa.

My grandfather had been in Hong Kong in 1906, just 91 years earlier. He took a steamer to Japan, where he enjoyed a three month visit in 1907.


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