Monday, March 05, 2007

Regina Mui - An Old But Long Lost Friend

....Regina Mui, the reason why I have created this post.

I wish to share a funny incident that happened to me when I was in
Hong Kong in 1975.
I had taken a redundancy package from the position that I had been in
for the first 15 years of my working life.
There was a change in the policy of the company and we could either
move to the new company or take a redundancy.
I opted to take the redundancy as I had decided to "tour the world".
My sister was living in New York and I had friends who lived in Doha.
I went into a travel agency and told them where I wanted to go and for
them to work out a schedule for me.
I had decided to fly to Honk Kong for 10 days, then onto Doha for two
weeks. Then three days in Rome, Paris and London (don't ask me why
only three days...who remembers). Finally onto America where I was going
to spend at least 4 months. I had purchased a Greyhound bus pass in
Australia that allowed me three months of free travel within the USA,
Canada and Mexico.
But now back to Honk Kong. The travel agency had booked me into
hotels in Hong Kong, Rome, Paris and London.
On the second day in Hong Kong I was "doing the tourist thing".
I was just walking around with my 35mm and movie camera, shooting
"whatever". I had "gone off the beaten track" and was down some back
streets and was about to cross the road. On the other side of the road
was a news stand (which I thought was a bit odd in Hong Kong). Sure
in the tourist parts of Hong Kong there were plenty of street stands
selling everything from food, cameras, watches, but not so much in
the areas away from the tourist spots.
Now I'm going to show you what I looked like back in 1975.

This was taken in Doha (after I had left Hong Kong). What the well dressed(?)
tourist was wearing. I would of had similar attire. Sandals, shorts, tank top,
big bushy beard, long hair and a head band.
I lifted my 35mm camera to take a picture, but decided against it, and walked
across the road. As I reached the other side a young chinese woman standing
by the news stand turned to me and said "what gives you the right to take my
picture". I was at first taken aback then replied that "I was not taking your
picture, but I was going to take a picture of the news stand and you just
happened to be standing there". I then told her that I had not taken the photo
but if you were going to be upset about this, then I would remove the film
(I had not taken any photos on this roll of film at this stage) and give it to her.
It was no big deal to me. I had plenty of film with me and could easily obtain
more film, as this was quite cheap in Hong Kong. She then seemed to relax
and said "no that's alright you need not give me the film".
She then asked me where was I from. I then asked her if she could help me.
My sister in New York asked me to buy a traditional chinese peasants outfit
for her. I had no idea where to look for this. I told her my name and she said
her name was Regina and that she could take me to a store where I could buy
the outfit. Regina spoke good English and she proceeded to take me way into
the back streets of Kowloon, well away from the tourist area.

This is the style of clothing my sister wanted me to get for her.
We arrived at this large three story building and inside on the second
floor I found what I was looking for. This store was similar to a department
store but not as fancy as the stores in Australia.
For her assistance I asked Regina if I could take her out for lunch and she
surprised me by saying "Yes". Regina asked if I had eaten in a traditional
chinese restaurant (not one of the restaurants frequented by tourists).
I was then taken to yet another three story building and this was a eating
house. There was a ramp (no stairs) that lead you from one floor to the
next. Inside there were only chinese people and here following this rather
attractive chinese woman was this "out of place" European.
We sat at one of the tables and Regina asked me if I had ever eaten chicken's
feet soup. "Can't say that I have" I replied.
Little old ladies wheeled trolleys laden with all sorts of food in large hotpots.
Regina called over one of the ladies and asked for two plates of chicken feet
soup. Now here in front of me was a plate of soup with a couple of chicken's
feet lying in the soup. Regina picked up one of the feet with her chopsticks
and proceeded to suck the flesh (what from the feet.
Fortunately I was capable of handling chopsticks so I followed what Regina
did. Must say there wasn't much to chow down on but at least the soup was
alright. Regina suggested another three or four other dishes from the roving
trolleys. Then from a different trolly there was a range of sweets (desserts)
to be had. In all we had about 8 different dishes for lunch. Most of the dishes
were only small portions so having 8 dishes wasn't a huge lot of food.
The bill came to HK$30.00 which worked out to about A$5.00.
We left the eating house and I asked Regina if she would like to have dinner
with me that night. Regina's parents lived in Shion Hing in China. She was in
Hong Kong studying at the University for a degree in economics.

Regina in a garden that overlooks a memorial to
"The Fathers of their Country"

We agreed to meet at my hotel later that evening and we decided to eat at
one of the local restaurants in the tourist part of town.
Regina had the following day off from University, but for the rest of my
stay she would be attending University.
Before we parted that evening I asked Regina if she would like to join me in
seeing the sights of Hong Kong the following day.
She met me again at my hotel and I decided to use a taxi as our method of
transport. Regina then took me on a tour of Hong Kong and Kowloon.
We went through the tunnel that connects Hong Kong to mainland China
and went as far as the border. We the drove back to Aberdeen, where
there are a lot of floating restaurants. Large numbers of families also live
on the junks and sampans that abound in the waters of Aberdeen.

..............View of Aberdeen Harbour.

We drove up to Victoria Peak where magnificent views can be seen all over
Hong Kong. We then went back to Aberdeen where we left the taxi and caught
a junk over to one of the floating restaurants. After a delicious seafood meal we
caught another taxi and continued on our sightseeing tour.
All up we must of been in the two taxis for at least three hours and the total
cost for both taxis was HK$120.00 or A$20.00. Not a inexpensive way to do
some sight seeing. That evening we caught another taxi up to Victoria Peak to
view Hong Kong at night. Breathtaking.

..............Hong Kong during daylight.

............Hong Kong at night.

We exchanged addresses and that was the last I saw of Regina. I continued
on my world tour although I did write to her and as I was going to be in or
around New York, I told Regina she could write to me at my sister's address
or wait until I arrived back home in December.
Our letter writing continued and Regina sent me, and my wife to be, a present
for our engagement in 1979.
Then in 1981 after I had told Regina that my wife was expecting our first child,
she sent a jade necklace for Olivia. I kept this necklace until Olivia grew up and
then I told Olivia the story how we met.

This was a photo Regina sent me of a garden that is the symbol of the
Thousand Islands. This means that each island makes something
special in their garden. In this case a pagoda, or a house in a tree.

Regina on the steps of a ancient rural house which is now a shop.

In 1983 I received a letter from Regina telling me that she was getting married.
Regina sent a photo of her and her husband to be, but unfortunately I could
not find this photo. They were married and we continued our letter
correspondence. Many months passed with no reply to my last letter.
This was not unusual as sometimes Regina was so involved with her work
that replying to letters were left "on the back burner." I wrote her again
after four months, but no reply.
My third and last letter was also not answered.
I do not know what happened.
Maybe she and her husband went back to China.
Maybe her husband didn't want Regina to continue with our correspondence??
Who knows??
After such a "strange" start to our friendship and then the years of letter
writing for it all to come to such a sudden end was also "strange"
During the time we wrote, we both would exchange photographs.
I will end this with the last few photos I had received from Regina.

Regina has written on the back
of this
"The Park of Yueng Ming Shan.
A ltttle girl by the spring in Taipei."

Regina is dressed in the
traditional clothes
of the people
from the village of the Sun Moon
Lake Province of Tai Chung.
This lake is high
up in the
mountains in Taipei and is
by high mountains.
It is 748 feet above sea level.

To get there you travel by train for
about four
hours and then hire a
taxi which takes another
one and
three quarter hours to get to the lake.



Lee said...

It's perplexing and sad when something like that happens, Wazza. Perhaps you should try to track her down again now. By computer should make it a little easier to do. Do try...I wish you the best of luck. :)

Merle said...

Hi Warren ~~ Very interesting story,
that one feels as though it is not finished. Thanks for all he e-mails
Have you heard from Peter, I haven't.
Take care, Cheers, Merle.

Peter said...

G'day Wazza, you sly old dog, I thought you must have regained contact from the start of the post sad to say you haven't there's a post up that will tell you what I've been up to, catch ya later.

Raggedy said...

Fabulous post!
I am sorry you lost touch with her.
I hope one day your will be back in touch again.

Have a wonderful day!
(=':'=) hugs
(")_ (")Š from
the Cool Raggedy one

JunieRose2005 said...

That was such an interesting story.

I DO hope you are again in touch with this friend, someday.


Marilyn Green-Hansen said...
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