California August 24 – 27 & Epilogue
Happy Reunion with my Primary School Friends
While planning my trip in the US, I was keen to meet up with three classmates whom I have known since 1963. Jackie lives in San Francisco while Isabel and George are in Sacramento. Things worked out perfectly as the tour I had joined could drop me off at Sacramento on August 24. After the reunion, I would go to SF airport direct and return to Hong Kong on August 27.
Isabel and George have set up their home in Sacramento since 1976. I visited them in 1980 on my first visit to the US after my stay in Oxford. Time flies. Their son and daughter are now parents themselves and they have four grandchildren ranging from 20- to 3-years-old.
They have downsized and are living in a lovely house in South Sacramento. We sat in the garden facing a canal and chatted in the afternoon. I need fresh air and enjoy listening to bird singing. We had a BBQ buffet dinner in a popular Korean restaurant where we had to wait half an hour. We had meat and seafood. Though we had not ordered excessively, it’s too much for me. My room was quiet and cozy. I had a wonderful sleep.
On Saturday (August 25), we had a grand reunion when Jackie and her husband Charles arrived. They bought fresh baked bread from SF and we had coffee around the bar. We went into George’s car and went to old Sacramento for lunch. I have never been to this part of the capital and find it charming. While waiting for a table at Joe’s Shack by the Sacramento River, we walked across the bridge, a landmark of Sacramento and strolled along the river side. I could see the Capitol Building from the bridge.
Jackie and I shared a pound of steamed prawns which were fresh and tasty. Close to the river is the preserved train station. The steam train still looks magnificent.
We drove back to the house and spent the afternoon in the garden talking about the bygone days in So Uk Estate North Government Primary School. I entered this school in 1962 but did not meet them till I was in Class 4A. We sat a common secondary school entrance examination in 1966. I passed but did not get a good grade and dropped out. Most of my classmates went to good secondary schools. I ended up working in day time and studying in evening school till I resumed full-time study in 1971. I must be a late developer and have moved on after the set-back in 1966. Finally, I went to the University of Hong Kong in 1975 and started working in 1978. During those years, I had lost touch with my primary school friends.
It is a blessing to meet old friends and be able to spend a leisure day together. It is incredible how much we can still remember our teachers, the name and face of our classmates and some incidents that took place over 55 years ago. We now have contact details of about ten classmates and hope to expand the list.
At 6:30 pm, we were off to dinner in a Japanese restaurant. I had scallop and chicken and fried rice. The food was good but the portion was too big. Jackie and Charles left after 9:30 pm as they had a long drive back to SF.
Time flied. It’s Sunday (August 26) and I had to leave. Isabel and George are very kind and generous. They insisted to take me to the airport and would visit George’s elderly mom and sister on the way. We set off after 11 am, bought some dim sum and snacks and had lunch with George’s family at their home. At my age, nothing means more than being welcomed into a house as a friend.
We moved on around 2:30pm and the journey to the airport was supposed to take just over an hour. Alas, traffic was building up fast. It took a while to cross the Oakland Bridge and they did not drop me off my hotel near the airport after 4:30pm. I felt guilty as they had to drive another two hours to get home.
The nearest eatery is a Chinese restaurant across the road. Though I was not hungry, I had a buffet dinner since there were plenty of vegetable and seafood dishes. After an early dinner, I went to bed before 8 pm only to wake up at 10:30pm. After that, I could not sleep. I therefore got up to write travel notes, watch news and read!
I managed to sleep for an hour or two before getting up at 6:30 am on Monday (August 27). I have chosen this hotel because it offers free shuttle to the airport. Everything worked out well: I took the 7 am shuttle; my plane took off before 10 am; I boarded my flight to Hong Kong in Vancouver around 1 pm and landed in Hong Kong before 5:30 pm on August 28 ending my 43-day trip in North America.
Epilogue (to add)