November 1988, my 40th birthday. I decided one way to celebrate was to go to Hong Kong and China to see the factories we were using there to make our more traditionally designed SportShape Bra. What a good decision! The experience blew my mind. Here’s an observation from my journal from the time:
Teeming city with rural peasant patches stuck in amongst the neon urban congestion. Forty-story high-rise apartments...all have balconies on which, even in the poorest sections there are an abundance of potted plants and palms. Also—very funny to see—laundry hung out to dry, forty stories up.
I ate eel, snake, and ricebird (very small, eaten whole, beaked head and all) and other culinary delights. It all tasted good: “han ho, ho sac” (very good, good to eat). It is ironic that I went on this trip harboring an express dislike for what I thought of as “Chinese food,” only to discover that no food there even remotely resembled its American version. The vegetables were fresh and delicious, the fish beyond compare, the seasonings exquisite. My how I raved on about my food! I was just so astounded at the difference between my expectation and the reality.
I found the Hong Kong people to be very touch oriented. They were always taking your arm, touching your back, even holding your hand as you walked along. Very nice. They were also very family oriented. Families lived together—grandparents, parents, children, in-laws. For members of the same family to have separate homes seemed very odd to my Chinese Hong Kong associates.
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