Barney & Loye
Hong Kong


Barney: Our travels were very limited before China, and they were all in the Unites States. Loye’s sister and brother-in-law went to China. He was a linguist. They were there for several years and were well liked by the government. The government took a real liking to them and said that they could travel anywhere in China they wanted except for Tibet. So they called us and said that if we ever wanted to go to China, we need to come now. It was just amazing and took us totally by surprise, but we said ok let’s try to go to China. We called around and the travel agencies said that China was totally closed and we couldn’t get in. We tried the China travel service and they said the farthest we could possibly get into Asia was to go to Hong Kong. We called the California china travel service and they said that China was closed and there was no way we could go in. So we went to a travel agency and bought two tickets to Hong Kong. We hoped we could get in through Hong Kong and after two weeks we finally found the Chinese International Travel Service who allowed us to travel by train to the University of Zhengzhou. That was the beginning of our unforgettable trip to China.

Loye: When we arrived in Hong Kong, we would go every day to the agency to see if there was a letter for us saying that we would be allowed on the train, but they would tell us no. They had not heard of us. They said we could book a tour, but there weren’t any being booked at that time. We said, “Oh no we’re supposed to be there. We’re supposed to go and see my sister and brother-in-law. We have to figure out a way to get there.” We would go morning and afternoon and they would tell us the same thing every day. However, they didn’t tell us we couldn’t come back and ask. Then we realized that we were going to run out of money. We were staying at the Grand Hotel in Hong Kong, which was really quite marvelous, but not so grand. We met a tailor on the street. He had really tried to line us up for new clothes, and we kept saying no not really, no. We told him that if we have any money when we get out of China we will look you up and you can make a suit for Barney. He followed us around every day. He would go our route with us and we got to know him a little bit. Then we decided that if we were going to have any money at all we better get out of the Grand Hotel and into a Bankok Hotel, which was a lot cheaper. The Bankok Hotel put us in a broom closet. There were no windows and they brought in a fan. I thought, oh my god we’re gonna die in here; this is a fire hazard. We stayed one night, we didn’t even sleep, and the next morning we rushed back to the Grand. We got our old room back and there was a telegram waiting for us. It was from my sister and said, “Try this other agency.” So we went running. When we came out of the hotel it was raining and the tailor was there and we said, “We have another address to try, hoping he would help us.” We followed him running through the rain down the street just like in a movie. We were running through alleys and hotels and I don’t know what the excitement was but we thought we were gonna get out of there and be on our way to China. We went into a building, and up the stairs. All of the doors had words in Chinese that we couldn’t read. The tailor tried to ask if this was the place and he told us that they didn’t know, it was the exact address. Then finally we were saying, “Oh my gosh, this is the way it’s going to be. We’ll never get there.” Then they told us that someone had made a phone call, and said that the people we needed to speak to had moved. So we ran over to this other place, and they said, “Oh my gosh, we’ve been looking for you. You must get on the train right now. The train leaves this afternoon.” We said, “Oh no. We are supposed to take a plane. We’re not supposed to go on the train.” And they said, “If you are going, you get on this train this afternoon.” So we ran and grabbed our bags and rushed to the train station and there we were pulling out of the station. In a matter of…it wasn’t even two hours. We were now crossing the border into mainland China.

Barney: When we crossed the border it was like going from Technicolor into black and white.