out of the aches …. 9 August 1945 (長崎市)

#10 – on my gems list – Nagasaki 

Nagasaki – Hong Kong, 18 times, back and forward … so Nagasaki became just like Hong Kong something I got know better. We visit other Japaneses cites, but Nagasaki is the one that I can relate to. Yokohama, Tokyo & Kobe we spent a couple days in – but there was never any “click”  between neither of them and me. Nagasaki total different matter.

One Sunday morning I woke up early and I went up in the sun rise .. it was only me out there – expect for the ladies that swept the streets. Have been looking at the net for weeks to find a picture of them, but no luck. They where so beautiful dressed and had the most fantastic big hats. Didn’t have my camera with me. Their long dresses in light brown with burned orange apron and those massive hats. I wish I could share it with you.

We where in Nagasaki 6.08.78 – the memorial day of the bombing of  Hiroshima and Nagasaki  – but I couldn’t leave the vessel because we where accepting new passengers for lunch. I wished I had been able to attend. The next day some of us visit the “Nagasaki Peace Bell”, Hill of Yamazato – ready for that year’s memorial service. In 2002  Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims built – would love to visit. There is 69 monuments in 10 areas – it all want us not to forget.

Once a small fishing village in the 1600 century and founded by the Portuguese  – has Nagasaki harbor was a mayor base for Imperial Japanese Navy during many war’s. After the bombing the harbor just developed rapidly and and was rebuilt into a modern harbor for cargo and cruise liners. Nagasaki lay in a bay with hills on all sides – stunning surroundings.

The old part of Nagasaki is so pretty – you need good legs to get up those hilly streets. No wonder that  Puccini used Nagasaki as setting for his opera “Madama Butterfly”  Houses with Shōji – sliding paper and bamboo doors – instead of blinds. Roof tiles in many different colors. All bedded in lush greenery.

The Sōfuku-ji Temple – Built in 1629 for the city’s Chinese population, this famous Ming-style temple is the oldest building in Nagasaki. Here the The Chinese Bon Festival is held here from July 26 to 28, with Chinese coming from all over Japan to participate in the ritual for the dead. Well worth a visit.

Around Nagasaki it’s very visible that Japan is built on volcanic islands – the archipelago is very bare and rough – one evening as we left for Shanghai – it was full moon and I never seen a moon that orange, nearly red and massive – it was like we could touch it. True that the moon in Japan is bigger then an where else in the world. Maybe it true what they said in the old days that it’s because the moon is raising in and falls of the sky in Japan .

A little story about one of our nights in Nagasaki – we, all the girls want a night out. We went for meal sitting on floor cushions – tough job by the way – specially with long legs like mine. After the dinner we wanted to go a night club. Not the easiest thing when not being Japanese. After trying a couple of places – we went to a bar and experience Karaoke – all texts was in Japanese … so we sang our own songs and the men in the bar loved it. No women in the bar at all except us. Japanese man don’t laugh – they giggle. We tried to get some information out them about somewhere to go for dancing. They spoke no English at all. Back out on the street again we stopped a taxi and with his nearly none English he toke us to “Rolex Club”.  At the entrance we where told that we need a Rolex watch to come in. So two of us took a taxi back to the vessel robbed all the guys on their Rolex and up the club again – where we was told – only for Japanese. So no disco in Nagasaki never, but a lot of bad singing and SapporoVodka.

photos provided by; japanesescreens.com / jerlene.blogspot.com / japan-guide.com / therapidian.org / fickr.com- Toumas Xi’s / fickr.com- nagasakisky            /  flickr.com-lawrence pergrine /google.com

to be picked up ….

The Peninsula Hong Kong (香港半島酒店)
Salisbury Road,
Kowloon, Hong Kong, SAR
5-Stars, 246 rooms and 54 suites

Now looking the website and on the net a lot has changed since June-78, when I was one of their important guests. Rooms has been refurbished, in 1994 there was a 30-story tower added to the magnificent old building, there is also buildings in front of the hotel and they have changed color on their Rolls-Royces. In “my days” they where cappuccino colored and they where 7 to the number. The hotel have picked up their guest in that luxury since 1970. In “my days” at The Peninsula every guest where picked up on arrival and dropped off on departure.

Today they have a fleet of 14 limousines, liveried in the hotel’s own green and honey trim, is the largest single order of the legendary masque’s new Phantom super-luxury car and come purpose-built for the hotel’s rich customers and four 1934 Phantom’s are still in service. Plus 2 specially bespoke made Mini Cooper’s share the space.

The hotel opened up 1928 in the corner of Salisbury Road and Nathan Road. Today they call their prestige’s lady – The Grand Dame of Asia – and it’s grand.

When there was only 4 weeks left of my year aboard MS Lindblad Explorer and knowing that I would have all my well deserved tax free US dollar in my hand soon – I sat down in Shanghai and hand wrote my reservation request for a corner room with harbour view. HK$500 per night (no breakfast included) and as a signed off sailor – with “style” – I could stay in Hong Kong for 8 days without visa .. so that was it.

7th of July 1979 I was aboard all packed up after a 358 days aboard waiting on my release – it took time – just after lunch the cruise director came out in the galley and told me that there was a Rolls-Royce by the gangway and the driver was asking for me. Didn’t have clue what that was all about. Didn’t know about the Rolls-Royce thing – had seen them in front of the hotel when I been over there for soaking up the atmosphere, afternoon tea and dinner at Gaddi’s. So I handed over my luggage to the driver and when my release had arrived a  I walked over to the hotel with my last belongings in a plastic bag. About 10 min walk from Ocean Terminal. No LV pieces then neither.

It was heaven to stay in that big room with view over the harbour after being in a small cabin for nearly a year – Hong Kong has the most beautiful harbour view at night. It’s like a massive diamond brooch.  1978 they didn’t have the light displays on buildings on Hong Kong Island side. Still it was breathtaking. Slept with the curtains wide open every night – didn’t need a TV. Then there was no building in front of the hotel and my “butler” told me that it will never happen that anything will be built in front of the Peninsula. Today there is museums. The hotels next door neighbour is YMCA – then a big hostel – today a 4-star hotel.

1979 there was a small exclusive shopping arcade long the lobby – today is has expanded – 2 storage arcade with shops like Tiffany, Prada, Chanel, Harry Winston and LV plus local designers

The world has changed around and inside The Peninsula – but this lady is still one of the most beautiful and bold in the world.
Today “my room” will come to HK$4.380 – $565 – £357 per night, with American Breakfast in The Lobby included. Not really more then a 4-star hotel in London cost without breakfast.

If I win enough money – I will go back – do it all again. I will arrive in a  Peninsula Green Phantom and departure in their white helicopter. Do the whole Peninsula experience and then die with a big smile !!!!

Photos provided by and thanks to: our.hotels.com /rolls-royce.com / luxurytravelmagazine.com / lost-in-hongkong.com / gd.sohu.com / peninsula.com