Derham Groves

The Travels of Peter E. Sayers: Nandi to San Francisco

More from Peter E. Sayers’ travel diary:

Saturday 14 February, Nandi, Fiji We had about 1 1/4 hours at Nandi then we took off and landed at Canton Is. just before dawn next morning. (Date still 14th.) As Canton is just below the equator (2º) we found that at this time of day it was hot & humid. We had a cool drink in reception room, then took off after dawn to see below us just a coral atol big enough for the airstrip & a few prefab huts. We landed Honolulu about 3.30 pm. (We were to have met Governor Quin at 3.00 pm but he saw us later (5.00 pm) at his home.) We passed through customs (you enter US here) very quickly & went by car (which holds 12 people (3 in each seat)) to the Reef Hotel where some of us swam in the pool, it was great. After our swim we met the Gov. then returned for tea overlooking the Waikiki beach & listening to Hawaiian music & singing. I had a Pineapple boat for tea. At 8.00 pm we lift for Franscisco. Just in the last half hour of our flight some including me got a bit sick.

Sunday 15 February, San Francisco Got in at 6.30 am (1/2 hr. before time) we were met by Australians from the consul, public relations & Qantas. We went to town at 60 to 70 mph (about 12 miles) along the freeway. After a bit of breakfast I rested in room all day while Francisco had a ‘bad storm’ a dull day with a few showers. (It was quite a contrast to Sydney & Melbourne let alone the tropics.) At night I ventured out in my new overcoat with 1/2 the other chaps to see a bit of San Francisco.

P.S. We were at the Clift Hotel a very good pub 2 to a room.

P.P.S. Flag with greatest significance to us Australians was flying for our party. Frisco was cold & wet to me both in weather and in heart but presumed that as time passed everything would turn out fine.

Monday, 16 February Went to consulate & Qantas headquarters (latter best in Frisco). Then went to City Hall & met the Acting Mayor (he met Baron Snyder) (the Mayor was on holidays at Honolulu). Then went to Berkeley Campus (University of California) by taxi (paid by us 25c) and bus (paid by us 50c). I jacked [-up, i.e. complained] here. We had lunch in the caf (50c for good meal, he [presumably Roland Hill] paid). I talked to a student in caf. We then looked over the library (about 1 million books in a building 9 storeys high) on our way back. I met at bus stop a 1956 Games fencer who was engaged to an Australian for two years from when he was in Melbourne (she’s now in England). We talked all the way back on the bus. After a press photo we had tea in Chinatown and had a look around. Shops were open selling Chinese clothes etc. at about 8.00 pm. We packed bags and I got this up to date.

P.S. We had a look at Fairmont & Mark Hopkins hotels before tea but after dark (eg. La…[?] top of the mark).