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Hong Kong May 24, 2002 - Attend Reception at the Consul General's Home

RECEPTION AT THE TOP

By Bob Van Leer

  (HONG KONG, China, Friday, May 24, 2002) - This evening we went to a reception at the U. S. government-owned home of Kenneth Jarrett, acting consul general of the U. S. on top of one of the tallest peaks in Hong Kong.

  The weather was a little hazy, but the view was still magnificent. The U. S. Embassy is in Beijing but the trade in Hong Kong makes the consul's job in Hong Kong a busy one.

  We left Taipai for an early morning Cathay Pacific flight that takes an hour and 20 minutes. A story in the Asian Wall Street Journal said this is the world's busiest flight route.

   In Hong Kong the weather was hot and steamy. Heavy rains in Taiwan while we were there broke the drought for most of the island.

  Our hotel in Hong Kong is on Nathan Road, one of the most famous shopping streets in the world. After checking in, I went for a walk on Nathan Road. It appears anything made in the world is for sale somewhere on the street. State-of-the-art electronics are really big here, some I can't even identify. The streets and sidewalks are jammed with people and cars. The shopping had too many selections for me so I returned to the hotel without buying anything.

  The reception at the consul general's was attended by diplomatic staffers but also by a large number of Hong Kong journalists, mostly westerners.

  Western style living is fiercely expensive here. Our leader, Allen Bierman, said a 1000-1200 sq. ft. apartment rents for $7000-8000 U. S. per month. Robyn Meridith, senior editor for Forbes magazine, said she and her husband pay for a four-bedroom apartment $125,000 per year. With costs such as these, employers have to subsidize employee living costs.

  After the reception we returned to our hotel, the Kowloon, and I was taken to the office of Bowen Wing, Hong Kong tailor, for fitting of a suit, I had sent measurements and fabric selection ahead and my suit was partially made. Sunday it will be ready. Former haberdasher Ted Ferguson of Gold Beach came out of retirement long enough to do the measurements.

Hong Kong tailors specialize in making custom-tailored clothing virtually overnight. Actually, with a fitting, it takes two-three days.

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