We arrived at Anchorage on Friday, and left on Monday, giving us a week-end to look around. We rented a car on Saturday and drove north into the Palmer Valley, and then south to one of the glaciers. On Sunday we went to a Presbyterian church and then looked around Anchorage. The most unusual event was to see the tidal bore coming up the inlet to the glacier — a wall of water about two feet high moving inland at 50 miles an hour. We could see Mount McKinley from our hotel room, but had no intention of trying to visit it. Then on to Tokyo and Seoul.
Our week in Korea was most rewarding. Presbyterian missionaries Sam Moffett, Otto deCamp and Marie Melrose went far out of their way to show us both the sights and their work. At one of the towns visited we got acquainted with Ben and Amy Sheldon, missionaries who later came as pastor and wife to the Sixth Presbyterian Church in Washington DC, where we were members in the late 60’s. Lasting impressions are: The terrible traffic in Seoul (where the vehicle in front has the complete right to do anything desired without regard for the vehicle behind), the industry of the Korean people after the terrible ordeal of the Korean War (of which I saw no evidence whatever), and the relatively primitive nature of buildings, vehicles, trains, etc., after the ultra-modern ones in Tokyo and the US. I was also impressed with the sincerity and accomplishments of the missionaries, such as Otto DeCamp and his radio broadcasting facilities. Marie Melrose drove the five of us around in a jeep (which required really packing us in), for which she had to pay 15 cents per mile (reimbursed by us). We also had the opportunity to visit the orphan boy we helped support through Foster Parents. He was a cute little chap, and I instinctively lifted him up as high as I could. That was a mistake! I then had to lift up all the forty or so kids in the orphanage and were my arms tired!
We didn’t see much of Tokyo on our way over, but now looked forward to it. We had originally booked into the Imperial Hotel, but found the Dai Ichi just as good and much cheaper, so changed to it on our return to Tokyo. Although I had left a message at the Imperial Hotel desk for Mother and Dad to come to the Dai Ichi, when they arrived at 4am, they were not given the message, and were dismayed by being told their reservation had been canceled, and there was no room! That really floored Dad, who was dead tired from over 24 hours on three planes, but a kind gentleman behind them gave them his room, as he said he could easily go to another hotel. That rather chilled their view of Tokyo right at the start. Before Mother and Dad arrived, we spent a Sunday with Chuck and Elouise Corwin both at their work at the Waseda University and at a suburban community in the south of the city. It was a long, hard day as we didn’t wind up at the suburban church until about 11pm, and then took a taxi back to our hotel. That was a real kamikazi ride! While it took several hours on the surface and subway trains to go to the suburb, the taxi driver took only 20 minutes to get us back. Our air tickets permitted us to fly to Osaka on our way to Taipei, without extra charge, so we were able to spend two days there. Chuck had recommended that I visit a friend of his (Neil Verwey) who had a Christian ministry in Osaka for tuberculosis patients (of which there were thousands in Japan). I debated whether I would do so while the others visited the historic places in Osaka and nearby Kyoto (Japan’s capital before Tokyo), but finally did so. Neil Verwey was from South Africa and his wife Peggy from London. They had a fairly new compound near one of the huge tuberculosis hospitals, and used Japanese as evangelists with the patients. That contact really changed the course of my later life, and it is incredible to me that so much depended on a casual decision of mine. It was step #1 in God’s plan for my later life.
We stopped over in Taipei for just a few days. We
had written to a Presbyterian missionary named Woodberry, who turned
out to be a lady in her sixties, whose husband was serving as
chaplain to the Taiwanese forces on the Island of Amoy. Mrs.
Woodberry met us at the airport and took us to our hotel in pedicabs.
She showed us all around the city, including some of the churches. At
lunch she happened to mention her son Dudley, and that rang a bell
with me about meeting a Dudley Woodberry in Beirut nearly two years
earlier (see reference in the chapter “Circling the Atlantic”).
It was her son, and she was greatly interested in all we could tell
her about the Smith family and her new daughter-in-law Roberta, as
she had only heard about them through correspondence. We also visited
the orphan child we helped support through the Mustard Seed, the
organization founded by Lillian Dickson. She was an amazing little
woman who had started this work when her children grew up, and it has
expanded from orphans to prison ministries, leper colonies, and
tribal peoples in Taiwan, Borneo, and Papua New Guinea. Her daughter
and son-in-law have taken over this work since Lillian’s
When we went to confirm our reservations to Hong Kong, we found that only one seat had been reserved — not seven. Because of the celebration in Hong Kong of the Double Ten (October 10, 1910 when Sun Yat-Sen founded the Republic of China), all flights were booked solid, and we simply had to wait over until the next day.
Hong Kong was interesting, but SO crowded! We toured the cities of Victoria (on the island) and Kowloon (on the mainland), staying in a hotel in Kowloon. Due to a water shortage, our water was cut off after 8am until late in the evening. We visited Tiger Balm Gardens and the harbor boat people, and took advantage of the opportunity to get new clothes from John Yue, a Christian tailor we had been put in touch with. He was so pleased with all we bought that he treated us to a 14-course Chinese dinner, complete with Peking duck. It took over three hours to consume it. We also visited the Presbyterian missionary work there, in particular a vocational training school where beautiful dolls and other knickknacks were made. When I got home, I tried with some success to get our local church folk to buy them for Christmas presents. I was impressed by the huge H-shaped apartment complexes the Hong Kong government had built for the refugees from mainland China.
Manila was such a contrast to all the big cities we had visited so far! It was dirty, the streets were in disrepair, beat-up jitneys were everywhere to move people. The only recollections I have are of our visit to the place where the American prisoners were confined during the Japanese occupation during World War II. This place was now in ruins, but seemed grim enough to be authentic. One of the Presbyterian missionaries told of her own imprisonment there, when their diet was so meager that they were on the verge of starvation when rescued. The only really impressive buildings we saw were the many Roman Catholic cathedrals and churches.
Bangkok was altogether different from anything we had yet seen. The city is huge, but had almost no high buildings. The most notable feature is the large number and variety of Buddhist shrines — statues of Buddha everywhere — small, large, and giant-sized. One monument in particular stands out as unique — it was made completely of broken glass from bottles. We visited the floating market early one morning across the river from Bangkok — it was most interesting to see the variety of foods and wares that were marketed from boats and canoes. We visited the Presbyterian mission compound, and learned how difficult it is to witness to the Thai people — they are so completely submerged in Buddhism.
Because of airline scheduling, we stopped over in
Calcutta on our way to Nepal, and enjoyed rooms in one of the leading
hotels at the airline's expense. Not knowing that the airline would
pay for them, I had made advance reservations at the very same hotel.
Fortunately for me, the customs man at the airport didn’t ask
me how much Indian currency I had, because I had bought $1,500 worth
of it in Hong Kong, when everyone I asked assured me that there were
no import restrictions. It turned out they were wrong, as I learned
later, and I might have been severely fined if I had been caught.
However, I had gotten a third more rupees for my dollars in Hong Kong
than I got in India.
Calcutta must be the dirtiest and most crowded city in the world! The lean, almost gaunt cattle roam the downtown streets including the markets. Thousands of people live on the sidewalks. Yet the Jain temples we visited are loaded with millions of dollars’ worth of exquisite gems. The banyan tree where a whole British regiment camped is something to see. A major mishap was John Bratt’s loss of $100, taken out of his coat pocket by a hotel employee when he left his coat in his room to join us in ours. Because of our free room, Dad and I helped him cover his loss.
The trip from Calcutta to Nepal was made in a pre-World War II DC-3, which touched down on a grass runway inside Nepal to be gassed from a hand-pumped gasoline dispenser. This introduction seemed to typify the nation. It was almost a carbon copy of India except that everything was far more crude in construction. It was like stepping back 100-200 years in history. Much to my surprise, the part of Nepal that we were able to visit was hardly mountainous at all — just a huge valley with Katmandhu in its center. We stayed in a small hotel in a suburb, and spent our time visiting markets, crude temples, and what few Christian organizations there were. Like India, Nepal is a country to which I have no desire to return to as a tourist. Leaving Nepal on the same (?) DC-3, we flew to Patna — several hundred miles closer to Delhi than Calcutta. It was here that I was asked to account for my Indian currency, but I only declared what I had acquired in Calcutta.
It is hard to describe a tour of India. We spent
three weeks in the country, traveling largely on the trains. The
overall impression is one of abject poverty, but there are surprising
pockets of wealth, as mentioned concerning the Jain temples in
Calcutta. Even in October it was oppressively hot. I had made no
advance reservations on the trains, which was a serious mistake on my
part, as we were not allowed even to buy tickets until the train came
into the station and the conductor could give us space. To try to
keep the agents honest, I guess, there are two completely separate
systems, one for reservations and one for tickets, combined only by
the conductor. For the most part, we traveled first class, although
occasionally we were able to get air-conditioned first class (twice
the fare). There were usually no dining cars. The train would stop an
hour or more at a station where there would be as many as three
restaurants — one for Hindus, one for Muslims, and one for
Westerners (and everybody else). At one stop there was only a
street-vendor service of rice and a variety of hot sauces. I tried
the rice — like sour wallpaper paste! I tried one hot sauce —
it nearly blew my head off. I tried the next — it was worse! So
I made a meal of the sour wallpaper paste. At another stop, John
Bratt wandered about to see what he could see, and didn’t see
the train start to move in time to get on our car, so he had to get
one of the second-class cars in the rear. He told us later they were
newer and better than ours!
We visited many of India’s principal cities: Delhi, Benares, Amritsar, then to Lahore, Pakistan, and back to Amritsar, Agra, Bombay, Madras, as well as several for which we had introductions to Presbyterian missionaries. In each city, we took a tour, which was mostly government buildings, temples and markets. I’m sure all guides got a percentage on what one bought at markets, as that was their principal interest. Will was interested in chess sets, and purchased several. We saw one, made of ivory, in which the chessmen were 6-8 inches in diameter and several feet tall. Those pieces sold for $1,000-plus each!
Without a doubt the Taj Mahal in Agra is the most beautiful building in the world. We were fortunate enough to visit it when the moon was full, and Will took a 5-minute moonlight exposure which turned out perfectly. The harsh sun-filled sky of daytime was replaced by the soft moonlight, accentuating the beautiful curves of the building. At close-up, this beauty is not nearly so evident, and I was not impressed by its details. Nearby is the Red Fort, where Shah Jahan, the builder of this tomb for himself, was imprisoned for the remainder of his life by his son when he planned to build a companion building of black marble for his wife’s tomb. His son deplored such extravagance at the expense of the destitute population.
Another very interesting place was at a point where we changed trains on the way to Bombay. Here were some of the most life-like stone carvings of people I had ever seen. Still another place was the Ajanta Caves, which we reached via a 5-hour bus ride from the railroad station. Mother went with us, but Dad begged off and went on into Bombay with all our baggage. Although we had checked it properly when we boarded, the Indian railroad personnel also checked it at departure, and charged Dad overweight on all our things. He was furious about the injustice, but had to pay. The bus ride was something else! Hot, crowded, long. I took a young boy on my lap to keep him from standing on my feet. When we finally reached the vicinity of the caves, there was a refreshment stand. We all got hot tea, as the water is boiled in its preparation. We saw a youngster go down the bank to a creek to get more water. The caves were occupied by monks of some order or other in the centuries just before Christ, and had been painted by the monks on their ceilings and walls. The Indian government had installed lights and safety features in some, and these were all that the public was allowed to see. I’m glad I went — the caves were a highlight, like the Taj Mahal.
In Bombay we got acquainted with a young man, who later came to the US to attend the University of Montana (of all places for a hot-country person). He visited in our home in California. We also saw there the movie, “Around the World in Eighty Days", which we had previously seen in Rio de Janeiro. The Indian version cut out the scene of the wife (Shirley MacLame) being rescued from the funeral pyre of her dead husband. Bombay was by far the most modem of the large Indian cities we visited, but it had its share of poverty.
The final leg of our rail journey in India was from Bombay to Madras, via Poona, where our denomination had missionaries and schools. Dad got sick in Madras, and Mother persuaded us to go on to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon); we had arranged and paid for a VW bus and driver to take us across the island from Jaffna at its top to Colombo, the capital. They planned to come later and meet us in Melbourne, Australia. We reluctantly bade then farewell and took the Indian Airlines plane for Jaffna.
Two things come to mind concerning the overland trip from Jaffna to Colombo. There was a man with an elephant at the roadside, getting tourists to have their pictures taken while mounted on the elephant. Will immediately got his taken, but when Mary Francis wanted hers taken, the man refused to let her get on the animal — some superstition about women, I suppose. We were impressed by the stupas, or Buddhist burial mounds, with which the country abounded. We had seen some of these in India, but they were much more in evidence here, particularly in the ancient capital Anuradhapura. Colombo was just another city, much like a smaller Bombay. From Colombo we flew to Singapore.
Singapore impressed us with its modern buildings, clean streets, and orderly people. We visited the famous Raffles Hotel, but stayed at a much less expensive one. Our one day there was extended by the delay of the British Airline Comet in Switzerland, so that we lost the day we had expected to have in Jakarta. We did have the opportunity to go to a Presbyterian church in Singapore because of the delay. The Comet finally did come and landed us at the airport at Jakarta after dark, 24 hours late. Here we were to change planes, so as to fly around Australia via Perth and Melbourne to Sydney, rather than direct. Since the Comet had room for us, and we had already missed our opportunity to visit Jakarta, we decided to go to Sydney on the Comet, rent a car and drive to Melbourne to meet Mother and Dad. We had no way of knowing that Mother and Dad were on the plane we were scheduled to take, and they were greatly disappointed at not catching up with us there at the Jakarta airport.
The plane stopped at Darwin at 2am, I suppose to
gas up, but we had to go through customs there — a particularly
disagreeable task at that hour and in that heat. But it speeded up
things on arrival in Sydney, where we spent several days sightseeing.
"My Fair Lady” was playing at one of the theaters, so we
all went to see it. Then we took off in a rented car for Melbourne,
via Canberra. One incident comes to mind concerning this drive. We
stopped at a restaurant for supper, rather late. At the end the
waitress asked if anyone wanted dessert. Mary Francis replied that
she did, and ordered a bowl of soup! The waitress evidently didn’t
know what to do about it, because after waiting 15 minutes or so we
had to see the manager to pay our bill and leave. I called the hotel
where we were booked in Melbourne several times along the way, but
was told Mother and Dad were not there. When we finally walked into
the hotel, there were Mother and Dad in the lobby. They had been at
the hotel the whole time, but the clerk had failed to look up the
records. That was when we found that they were on the plane we chose
not to take in Jakarta. Dad was better, but not up to sightseeing. He
wanted to go home. So we suggested that he and Mother go on to New
Zealand, and wait for us there, which they did.
Honeywell had been soliciting the Australian government to buy their H-800 computers, and I was supposed to contact a man named Oventon in Melbourne, to answer any technical questions he might have. However, when I inquired for him, I learned that he was in Canberra, where we had just been. In order to keep my promise to see him, I had to leave our party to drive back to Sydney along the coastal route, while I took the train to Canberra and then to Sydney. I saw my man, answered his questions and paved the way for a sale of two computers, somewhat justifying my 6-week paid leave. It was interesting that I had to change trains at the border between Victoria State and New South Wales State, as the two railroads were of different gauge. We had seen this in India, where at one point there were three rail lines running side by side, all of different gauge. The Australians have long since corrected this poor planning on the part of the British.
In Auckland we found Dad still wanting to go home, and complaining bitterly of the unheated room in his hotel. So I suggested that he and Mother go on to Honolulu, and wait for us there, where it would be warm. We rented a car, and took Mother and Dad to the airport. Then we started for New Zealand’s main tourist attractions, Rotarua and the thermal power stations. After having been to Yellowstone, Rotarua seemed like small potatoes, but it was interesting. I had never seen a power plant using steam from deep wells, and that interested me. Of course, everywhere we went there were sheep. In fact they told us at the airport that New Zealand had 3 million people and 60 million sheep. Many times we had to stop while a flock of sheep crossed the road. We arrived in Wellington in time to take the overnight ferry to Littleton, the port of Christchurch in South Island. We rented a car to look around that day, returning again overnight by ferry to Wellington. The drive back to Auckland was on the west side of North Island, where we saw the traditional spot where the Maoris are thought to have originally landed, as well as the cave where the fireflies give such a beautiful glow. That was impressive. Then on to the Fiji Islands.
We had only 24 hours in Fiji, and used it to take a taxi (car rentals were not available) to a coastal resort hotel 60 miles down the coast. This was truly the south sea paradise one reads about. I would like to have stayed there several weeks, not just one night. But schedules are schedules, and we had to return to Nandi the next day for our flight to Honolulu.
It was now well into December, and Hawaii was our
last place to see. We were shocked to see Mother’s condition
when we met them at their hotel in Waikiki. She had such a swelling
in her feet and legs as to make it almost impossible to walk. We
urged her to return home at once, and get medical attention. We
learned later that Dad took her to the Riverdale hospital on his way
home, and she was there many days being treated for an acute case of
arthritis. Fortunately, Dad had completely recovered from his malaise
in India, which apparently had been due to some fluid on his
Our Hawaii plans included tours not only of Oahu, but the Big Island (Hawaii) and the Garden Isle (Kauai) as well, having rental cars at each one. We visited the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, which for me was the highlight of the whole Hawaiian excursion, and then drove around the island to the Kona Coast. Having spent 15 not-so-pleasant months in Hawaii during World War II, I didn’t enjoy the trip nearly as much as did the others. All too soon, we were hack in Los Angeles, and our second 40,000-mile world tour was over.
This trip was much more like a standard tour than our trip around the Atlantic. Although we did visit missionaries in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and India, the major emphasis was on travel and sightseeing. I didn’t note the miraculous events on this trip that were so conspicuous on the earlier one. In fact, the only place I could discern God’s hand on my life was in my visit to Neil Verwey in Osaka, and I didn’t realize the significance of that visit until well into the 70’s, when he arranged a tour of South Africa for me, as will be described later.
Some years later the five of us (left to right: Mary Francis, me, John Bratt, Will, and Mary Charlotte) had a reunion at John’s home in Lakewood CO, as shown in this photo. We had a grand time, reliving the many adventures the two globe circling trips provided. Will brought many of his souvenirs: the “blood stained’ Mau-Mau shield and spear from Kenya, the chess sets from India, and many other items of memorabilia.
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