Many of the peasants aboard had vegetables and produce to sell including pigs in baskets in the markets in Kowloon and Hong Kong. We traveled most comfortably on the steps than in the coaches, the trains did not travel fast, and on arrival both the passengers and possessions went out of the windows. More often than not we used the trucks even though returning at night in the back of a truck especially if it was raining was not the most comfortable means of travel. As the journey was about 2 hours, and we had to be back by 2359 hours, we usually left Kowloon before 10 pm.
Once at Kowloon we invariably made for Victoria, crossing on the Star Ferries. Europeans and the better kind of Chinese traveled 1st class on the top deck, the coolies, bags and baggage on the lower decks. The trams in Victoria were similarly segregated.
Approaching Victoria the first thing one saw from the water was the imposing Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank with its stone lions either side of the main entrance just beyond the ferry terminal. The smaller commercial buildings around it were overwhelmed by this symbol of British imperialism. To one side of it in an equally prominent location was another typical English institution, the cricket ground of the Hong Kong Cricket Club. To the right was the business and shopping area of Central District along Queens Road, above which Government House sat on the lower level of the Peak. To the left was Causeway Bay and the Chinese district of Wanchai.
Victoria was home to two servicemen clubs. The Cheero Club, a popular and overcrowded place in temporary buildings right in the center above the cricket ground run by Naafi, and the China Fleet Club in a large white permanent building out toward Wanchai and HMS Tamar the naval dockyard. This was long established and more like the Union Jack Clubs in the UK. While principally for the Navy we were always welcome. It was less crowded and had better facilities.
These facilities included the two most important to us, hot baths and decent food. An added attraction was sitting at a properly laid table with waiter service. Compared to the Cheero Club’s canteen, these were absolute luxuries. One could also get your hair cut, shop, make reservations for the cinema, be entertained of an evening – invariably housey/housey-tombola, get a drink or sit in an armchair, there were none in our camps, to relax, read and write.