A Word In Your Ear - March 12, 2015

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That’s 12 hours but, as he flew ‘premium economy class’ with Cathay Pacific (almost twice ‘economy’ rates but still less than ‘business’), it didn’t feel so long.

Dave stayed at the luxurious InterContinental on Victoria Harbour, with spectacular views of what’s calling itself ‘Asia’s World City’ and a nightly ‘Lights’ display.

Dynamic Hong Kong is full of confidence, money and at the cutting edge of business. It falls short on freedom but a hard-working populace is getting there.

This reminded me of my arrival half a lifetime ago, to join former colleagues from The Gazette on the English-language South China Morning Post.

In 1980 I flew ‘Marco Polo’ class (business grade), thanks to a pricing war and one-way ticket. It took 15 hours, including a refuel in Dubai, to land at old Kai Tak Airport on the waterfront in Kowloon.

We dropped between skyscrapers where residents were hanging out washing on balconies a wingspan away. Then our jumbo sped along a runway jutting into the sea, with junks, ferries and warships sailing alongside.

Hong Kong, a tiny spot ‘on the rump of China’, was as humid as a steam-room and overwhelmed all senses. It was packed by a six-million population of 99 per cent Chinese. The smallest proportion of the remaining one per cent were Brits who, nonetheless, ran the place as a colony. Our privilege was embarrassing.

My nearest ‘hotel’ was the Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Home, in red-light district Wanchai, before staying in a succession of bizarre flats; learning to speak disastrously poor Cantonese but, on the whole, having a wonderful time.

The money was good too!

So, why did I come back? Well, we all need to belong somewhere - and there’s nowhere more friendly or varied than the Fylde.

* Visit royedmonds-blackpool.com.