Last week I told you I would tell you about some of my non-revenue travel adventures. My first trip I tried to fly to Los Angeles to visit my best friend from high school. With my low seniority, I wasn’t able to make it, and it was with bitter disappointment I had to call my friend to tell her I wouldn’t be out.
The next time I decided to go out and see my friend I took a two week vacation in October (the best time to travel for non-revs) to allow myself time to get there and back. This time I took my mom so she could visit with my friend’s mother. We had a lovely time. Not only did we visit with them, but they took us to the beach, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm among other sightseeing.
After our visit with them, we went to San Francisco to see my favorite aunt and one of my uncle’s (he was a favorite but not my very favorite). We did more sightseeing there, Fisherman’s Wharf, took a ride on the trolley cars, and went up to the mountains to see the mammoth red wood trees. These were just a few of the things we did in California.
One of my most exciting vacations was to Guam and Hong Kong. My mother had a friend whose husband was stationed with the military in Guam so I planned a trip there and on to Hong Kong. Mom had another friend who wanted to go, and she paid full fare. Since the flight was such a long one we planned to spend four days in Guam, five days in Hong Kong and a few more days in Guam on the way back to break it up.
In Guam I learned how to surfboard (I must admit here that I was off the surfboard more than on lol), went to the USO dances, visited and went sightseeing around the island. We reassured them we would be back for a couple of more days and headed to Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong we had a problem with our hotel and they wanted to move us to another hotel. At three o’clock in the morning, I was not willing to be reasonable. I had paperwork showing them our reservations and insisted I wanted my room. There was a man a few people back in line from us who quietly said, “You go Tiger.” We finally got everything straightened out and made it to our room to get some much needed sleep.
The next morning, we went to the restaurant for breakfast. We were ready to be seated when a strange man walked up to saying, “I’m glad to see you got everything straightened out with the hotel.” He introduced himself, (can’t remember his name now) told us he was a businessman from Connecticut, and he invited us to a table with some other people.
After that one meeting, we arranged to eat all of our meals together when we were at the hotel. To me the people I meet on a trip are a major part of the travel experience, so I’m going to tell you about them. The gentleman who introduced all of us was in Hong Kong on business. He owned a company which sold what I call knick knacks (ceramics and other items), and he was here to check the order from the factory making these things for him.
The other woman at the table besides us was a retired school teacher who had been traveling for two years. She and her husband had always dreamed of traveling when they retired, but unfortunately he died before they could full-fill their dream. She had decided to do it for both of them. She’d traveled all over Europe, the Mediterranean, and was going on to China from Hong Kong. She’d kept in contact with her children and even met them from time to time in her journeys, but she was starting to get homesick so she was going home after Singapore and Japan. She had wonderful stories to tell of her travels. I thought she was a brave woman to travel by herself for so long.
Another person at our table was a blind professor who was on sabbatical for a couple of years. He’d just spent time out in the desert camping. He told the story about one night there had been something in his tent with him. He could hear it slithering around bumping into things. He’d been told about these huge snakes that would sometimes crawl into a tent at night. The poor man lying on his cot didn’t dare move for fear whatever it was would find him, so he laid there all night listening to the movements. The next morning it grew quiet, and he carefully got out of bed. Can you imagine how fearful you would be if you couldn’t see and didn’t know for sure if the thing was gone? Not only that, he was going to be teaching at a University in a desert (can’t remember which one) for six months.
We did a lot of sightseeing in Hong Kong but my memory has dimmed some, so I’ll just give you the highlights. We took a tour to the other end of the island where we could see the tip of China, the stretch of water between them, and a portion of the great wall. We walked in the old portion of Hong Kong where the people sell food, clothing, etc. The buildings had clothes and other things hanging on their balconies to dry. We went to the harbor in Kowloon where you could see luxury boats and little fishing boats side by side. Even on the little boats where people lived you could see TV antennas. Their roads were more modern than ours at that time. The whole island was a fascinating mixture of smells and sights, and old and new.
The last night in Hong Kong was a bit somber because we had to say good-by to our new friends. We exchanged addresses and promised to write to one another (we did for a bit), but I told them that my mother and I were on standby, so there was a possibility we might be back to try to get our room back. Lol We had no idea that we would be back three more days to stay at the hotel and visit with our new friends.
Each day we went to the airport to see it filled with standby passengers. On the third day, I ran into a friend of a friend who worked at TWA, too. We were talking, and she said her husband and she had decided to buy 50% tickets to Hawaii so they could make the next flight. I told her I was starting to worry about money, and she gave me $300.00 and told me I could pay her back when we got home. (Perkie, that was your friend, Pat.)
Back at the hotel we met our friends for the last time because the next day we were able to make our flight due to a big group in first class deciding to stay in Hong Kong for a few more days. Yep, we got to travel first from Hong Kong to Guam and on to Hawaii because when we got to Guam, the airline wouldn’t even open the doors. They just filled up with fuel, took on more food, drinks and took off.
We were still in first class and we became the party class. Lol We ate and drank like kings and queens to Hawaii. My mom and I were seated together, and across the aisle was a guy who was a banker in Los Angeles, and he was so funny that he had us roaring the whole trip. When we reached Honolulu we had to go through customs, and that’s where the funny guy got into trouble. Lol He made a joke about drugs, and customs whisked him off to a room by himself where they searched his bags and his body. Poor guy, I’m sure he learned a lesson then, but it still didn’t dampen his spirits. Once, we were free of customs and back in the air again he was fine.
I will add here that my mom and I weren’t in first class again. The funny man wasn’t either because even though he was paying full fare it wasn’t for first class. We all made it to Los Angeles, and my mother and I caught a flight to Kansas City. That was a twenty-four trip straight through from Hong Kong to Kansas City counting the layovers.
We were so glad to get home, but it was an adventure I will never forget. I have a lot more adventures to tell you about, but I’ve already bored you enough this week. You’ll get to hear more next week, I promise. Lol
Have a great day.