China 1978…..

by

Did YOU KNOW? My first trip to China was in 1978 for pleasure and again for business in 1981. I found bomber hats in little shops on the streets and had friends translate the Chinese labels so I could locate the factories. I often had to travel alone by train to find and visit the factories. Man, were they surprised to see some white American emerge from a sea of Chinese come to visit their factory. I once traveled 40 hours standing on a train but considered myself lucky since I had postal bags to lean on; when the conductress wasn’t screaming at me to “get off government property”. In the later 1980’s I traveled unintentionally into a restricted military zone in Mongolia and was arrested and politely held for three days…all in an attempt to purchase leather bomber hats from a special factory. In the “good old days” (or “daze” as I prefer) no one in China accepted credit cards (nor did I have them) and sometimes I’d run out of money. On my return through San Francisco airport I ran into my good friend and first customer Wild Bill from Wild Bill’s Emporium in Vail, CO. He was headed to Harbin, China with the local Vail kids hockey team and asked how I was doing. Great and planned my trip perfectly: ran out of money at the US border but close to home now. Well, Ole Wild Bill being the gentleman he was instantly loaned me enough money to get home in comfort. The Mad Bomber….
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