Aboard Asama Maru arriving Honolulu, Hawaii

Friday, October 18, 1929

Have had a fine time the last few days. Spend much of the day fooling around with General (Sheridan) in second class. In this way I met Mr. Clover who unexpectedly made an appearance in our messy cabin one day with Doris (Miss Woods). Since that time I have met many people. Miss Woods is overflowing with pep and keeps things moving plenty. Has everybody guessing as to her profession, if any. She has been extremely nice to me and gone out of her way many times to do some little thing for me. She lives in Hongkong, is just 40, acts like 18, and has done much traveling—America, Europe, Australia, Africa, Canada, etc. Was with the British troops in China, I believe, during the war, has taught school a little, and is a good singer.

Her cabin mate is a petite Chinese girl, Olive Young, who says she is going to Hollywood to be a film star. I call her Flaming Youth because she is just that—bubbling over with pep, full of the devil, not bad looking but has a rather harsh laugh and voice—about 23 or 24.

General’s cabin mate is Capt. Ambrose, a stout middle-aged Britisher, humorous, pleasant, always with a joke ready. He and Mrs. Ambrose (Scotch) have lived in China for 26 years (?) and he is official interpreter for the army. They have two daughters, 17 and 14, and a son about 7. They have traveled much.

Then there is Mr. Clover from Boise, Idaho, who is the “farmer.” He is a fine man, middle-aged, lots of fun. Has had quite a farming career and is now returning home from six months in the Orient.

The “miner,” (Can’t recall his name) is also lots of fun. Younger, and of Russian descent, he holds forth in Nevada, and is now returning from a visit to his parents in Russia.

Haddad, called Haddaddy, of about 50, of Portuguese descent (?) but a naturalized citizen; a little retired but a willing talker. He seems to have been every place everybody else has ever been, knows his Palestine or Europe as well as his Honolulu or America. As he lives in Venice, California, Doris suspects he has connections with merry-go-rounds and things.

Mr. Garospe (called Cornelius) is a middle-aged Philippino, very pleasant, full of fun.

There are three Indians, two Hindus and a Sikh. The latter is a rather young man, admirably built, tall and striking as are the Sikhs, but quiet and observing. He is anxious to know whether the people of America wear beards such as his. The other two are well educated and cultured. Mr. Bedi, the older of the two, and Mr. Parmvani are on their way to Frisco, hence Balboa, on the Pacific end of the Panama Canal, to start up a curio and silk business. I have talked to both quite a bit about India.

The rest of the second-class passengers are Japanese and I am unacquainted—except Glenn (I think they call him)—of Russian descent, probably naturalized, and the special thrill of Flaming Youth so it seems. A nice chap.

In first class I have met three or four. The Mr. Hughes that Mr. Colton of Kobe asked me to look up, spent three days in search of me, then I a day looking for him. Finally I found him—a nice, middle-aged, stout gentleman, anxious to do something for me. He is going to try to fix it up so I can get a job back to the States from here. His wife is pleasant—and fat.

So much for the passengers.

Read the book Earthquake, a true story of the Japanese earthquake but with fictitious names— The owner has marked the real names in the margin, acquaintances of his, many.

Have tea in second every afternoon. Their verandah is a delightful place to pass the hours, chatting, reading, or just watching the azure-blue sea and billowy clouds drifting across an egg-blue sky. Until the 17th when a ship’s masts were barely visible above the horizon, we saw nothing but an endless expanse of deep blue sea. Yesterday we passed an N.Y.K. ship that had left Yokohama on the 7th, four days before we did—and another ship.

Last night there were ten of us gathered on the verandah, and it was some gathering. Passed the whole evening sipping whiskey, sodas, ginger-ales, etc. telling yarns, singing—each one had to sing a solo song—and doing tricks which the Miner showed us. A hilarious party with Doris are the top and Flaming Youth not far behind her with her ukelale (?).

Broke up at eleven and everybody went to bed but General, the Miner, Haddaddy, Glenn, F.Y., and myself. The “couple” got a brandy bottle so we all wrote on a piece of paper, put it in the bottle, and tossed it overboard. F.Y. also smashed the glass in accordance with the rules. Sure was a night—a full moon across the sea—an island (Bird Island?) barely visible on the horizon, a lighthouse winking on another farther on. The old ship takes on a real charm at such a time and you hate to think of leaving—equally of going to bed.

So I didn’t—but sat up in the cabin and read till 1:30 while Al ate bologny and cake.

The night before the boys on the ship had given a play on the hatch in the steerage smoking room forward. The room was hot—crowded with steerage passengers and their million kids and babies. As to the show, it was pretty good I guess, but of course it was all in Japanese.

A dancer led the program. Have to admit the boys make charming girls. Geisha was followed by a magician, then an old historical play wherein the characters were garbed in kimonos of loud colors and were heavily bedecked with swords. In the first act the two principal characters went through their dance with large baskets over their heads. Another magician followed, then a couple of plays, the intermissions being broken by the ship’s band. About this time I began to read a magazine and at eleven the General and I gave it up.

Almost lost my reputation as best eater at our table because I slept through breakfast, but gained it all back and more in a Japanese dinner that evening.

This morning we passed (?), a pretty island with shores sweeping back to the rugged serrated hills, heavy hung with clouds. The day was marvelous—a hot sun, a cool and strong trade wind. Climbed out of the painful long trousers into the shorts and attempted to do a little packing, but evidently things have swelled for the suitcase refused to hold the suit, sweater and slicker.

At two we lay just outside the harbor of pretty Honolulu, half hidden by the trees on the rising coastal plain that arched up into the rugged hills that are the city’s back door. Lazy clouds drifted by Pali and its more lowly neighbors. On the left a broad dipping plain rose to meet the reddish jagged hills along the western coast. To the east was Diamond Head, an extinct volcano much eroded, jutting out into the sea. Behind, Cocoa Point (?).

Quarantine and immigration officials met the boat in the harbor’s entrance where we parked for a long time. At last we steamed in and docked, a good-sized crowd watching the arrival. As in Singapore, divers swam alongside the ship yelling for nickels and dimes.

There were many au revoirs as the passengers began to leave. The General and I went into the customs house and I out into the street to look for Vance, whom I had wired the evening before. Hadn’t received the wire but was there and rushed up throwing a lei—or however you spell it—of flowers over my head. Say a garland of flowers. Sure was glad to see him—seemed like old times again. Never expected to see him way out here, but here he is, in college, after tearing off from Chicago with a two days’ notice. He is here with his cousins, “Eddy” and John Embree. John was meeting a girl on the boat whom I had seen in first, and when customs had hastily glanced through my stuff, we all drove out past Diamond Head to their home, six miles from the city, opposite a golf course on the sea, with the hills nearby.

Vance had engagements tonight and tomorrow and the house is small, so I am at the Y. Have a nice little room. The place is new and pretty grand for a bum like me but the room is only $5.50 for a week—$19 a month. Didn’t miss having an apple pie a la mode for dinner, then a walk through town, evidently conspicuous in shorts but not giving a darn. Saw the Ambroses.

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