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We recently spent two weeks visiting my stepson Martin and his wife, Ayesha and daughter, Olive in Hong Kong. We flew direct from Auckland NZ to Hong Kong on premium economy with Air New Zealand on an overnight flight. Having been in China in 2007 I expected Hong Kong to be more like China but it definitely had that British feel about the place. Everyone understood English and there was the familiar sense of how things are done and what to expect.

The other unexpected thing about Hong Kong was that the island was very mountainous and the streets were steep and winding and probably followed goat trails up the mountains. Martin lived on Robinson Road which is fairly way up the mountain and so also every evening we would eat out (fabulous restaurants) which involved clambering down numerous flights of stairs to somewhere near the harbour — it’s ok if you are young and fit. Thankfully the journey up was by escalator which in the morning ran down the mountain until 10:30 am.

We did the usual tourist things: The Peak, returned by cable car, the Museum of History and the International Commerce Centre (ICC) in Kowloon, etc and finally Disneyland. At Disneyland we stayed a night at the Hollywood Hotel so that Olive could meet Mickey.

Olive-Mickey

We took a ferry to Macao and spent a night there. Macao was a former Portuguese dependency on the west side of the Pearl River estuary opposite Hong Kong. Macao was developed by the Portuguese as a trading post, and in the 18th century was the chief centre of trade between Europe and China. The older parts of Macao were very picturesque but the newer parts reminded me of Las Vegas — high-rise hotels and casinos everywhere.

We returned to New Zealand with some issues of re-entry since one of us carried a British passport without NZ residency status -- the perils of travel and travel agents.

staff-room

Before retiring from the Microbiology & Immunology Department I accepted a commission to compile an online version of the social archives as part of the history of Microbiology, University of Otago. The concept seemed simple -- assemble archival material into a time-frame and the events and people would tell the story of the Department. While this may be relatively easy for a former staff member or student, those unfamiliar with the Department would not know where to look or which path to follow -- a guidebook was necessary. A limited print version of the guidebook was printed and the archives were placed online (see the Microbiology Archive page).

archive-logo

Not being trained as a historian, it was  unavoidable that the presentation of the events and the 'facts' would became viewed through the eyes of someone that participated in many of the events and held a certain world-view. In the end the history of Microbiology became part of my story.