As I was scanning today I came across a pack of old postcards I’d bought in 1976 when I ventured out into the world during a gap year between high school and university. A year where I’d started off working in a Stock & Station Agency (a country thing) by day and babysitting a lot of nasty little children at night – okay maybe not all of them were nasty, and some that were probably grew up to be nice responsible adults though I would not have predicted that based on their juvenile behaviour. As soon as I had enough money I flew away on Qantas to Guernsey to meet and get to know my grandmother and some penfriends I’d had from the age of 13.
After nearly 3 months I was returning to Australia via a 5-day stopover in Hong Kong. Luckily I already had a ticket and my accommodation was prepaid at the Park Hotel because I landed in Hong Kong with very few dollars. Certainly not enough to *do* anything; and probably not enough to eat very well. A quick reverse charge call to dad provided a solution; Papa, of Jane’s Travelling Tiles fame contacted an acquaintance, Ah Chuk who he’d been in contact with since the 1950’s and his son, Alan, appeared like magic at my hotel.
This is where I’d generally insert a few
dozen photos but sadly a lot of my photos from the 70/80’s were thrown out by my ex-husband so, here are the postcards which prompted the post anyway. The Park Hotel – I love how the woman has snazzy red suitcases to match her clothes: the back of the postcard: and this cute one from Ah Chuk Tailor:
Alan Ah Chuk showed me areas of Hong Kong tourists were not venturing into, fed me a lot of strange stuff and generally watched out for me while my grandfather wired money to cover what I was costing to entertain.
The stipend included enough to get some clothes tailored by Ah Chuk’s business. I remember being mortified as I stood in my underwear while 2 small Chinese men measured me, chatted in Chinese and laughed each time they wrapped the tape around me. It was obvious to me that they found my sturdy thighs and buxom country-girl figure hilarious! (everyone is laughing *at* you when you’re 19).
Like a bower bird, I was drawn to the bright, colourful and, sort of shiny, material. I have no idea where I thought I was going to wear it and I would’ve said that I never did wear it except I found a handkerchief and a receipt in the pocket when I got it out to photograph!!
I wonder if I’ll have occasion to wear it again, though at this stage I don’t think the previous wear counts as I don’t remember it!…. It’s a lot of pattern to carry off even though age does bring about a certain boldness; …. but I don’t think I’m quite old enough yet.