I later climbed at Shek O on Hong Kong Island, Tung Lung Island and on Kowloon Peak. I survived a Tyrolean trip on a rope across a gorge at Shek O as the sea raged below. I did it once and that was enough. Teri had no fear and made the trip half-a-dozen times. She eventually returned to the States and got married. She travelled widely before we met and wrote stories about her time working as a teacher in Tokyo and riding a camel in the desert in India at Rajasthan. “I loved sleeping under the stars and I had happy dreams,” she said. “I bought some Mary Jane leaves at a shop in a town and smoked them in the desert. I managed to avoid falling off a camel on a ride the next day.”
Life wasn’t easy for one expat. He started on the Standard, joined a magazine, pushed off to work in Manila in the Philippines and then joined the Post on his return. He was earlier laid off by the Standard for going AWOL, lost his job on the magazine, built a small boat in the Philippines that capsized before he found success at the Post. When out of work, he cheekily vowed to end his life by riding his bicycle into the South China Sea. At the time, he couldn’t pay his rent for his flat or his bar bills and couldn’t see his way out of trouble. We had a chat over a pool table in Sai Kung, where he was trying to take a few dollars off me. Tired of the silly reaction to his plight, I offered to push him and his bike off the dock. However, he recovered financially by selling two pedigreed dogs his girlfriend “Crazy Annie” owned, paid his debts and landed a decent job on the Post from which he never looked back.
Alex Price earns praise for standing up to an editor about a story about China he thought was downplayed, but people still remember the time he was found canoodling a female staff member in a stairwell at the Post’s 28th-floor office in Dorset House. Standard reporter Tim Metcalfe gets first prize for his ability to embellish a story about Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mt Everest. The only meeting that Tim had with Hillary was brief, when he greeted the great man as he walking down some steps, but he still managed to write a long feature article about their encounter. Peter Kammerer amazed me by continuing to write for the Post despite being visually impaired. Colleague Mukul Munish bought a Porsche sports car, which goes to show how well paid staff are.
Expats are called Foreign Devils by Chinese people in Hong Kong. A man is a gweilo, a woman a gweipor. The city has attracted hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world because of the lifestyle they enjoy in the City of Light. During the more than 20 years I worked there, I came across some characters that rivalled the ones Alice met in her wonderland in the tale by Lewis Carroll. One pal of mine kept a python as a pet, another hired a bodyguard called Shotgun Billy Smith to keep him out of trouble at his drinking hole in Wan Chai. Life is never boring in Hong Kong.