Perelman Tonight: On the town in Hong Kong -- Part 3 of "Mama Don't Want No Rice" (Chapter 4 of "The Swiss Family Perelman")
A pair of laughing almond eyes cajoled me onto the dance floor.
"Before long a pair of laughing almond eyes cajoled me to the dance floor, where my 1922-vintage toddle excited wide admiration, especially from those who had never seen a man dancing with a pair of laughing almond eyes."
-- from tonight's conclusion of "Mama Don't Want No Rice"
Last night, still in Hong Kong,the family saw some of the sights, including Tiger Balm Gardens at Causeway Bay --
at once a potpourri of Madame Tussaud's waxworks, the castle of Otranto, and a theatrical prop shop, the whole tinctured with fumes of the Mexican drug called mescal. Just what its eighteen acres of nightmare statuary, turrets, grottoes, mazes, and cloud-borne pagodas signify, nobody on earth knows -- not even its proud parent, upon whom I called for a fast exegesis next morning at his headquarters in Wanchai Road.
That "proud parent" was "the noted patent-medicine taipan and philanthropist" Aw Boon Haw, and in last night's installment we indeed made the acquaintance of Mr. Haw himself:
Prior to our interview, Mr. Haw's interpreter, a Celestial version of Russell Birdwell, coated me with the customary schmaltz about his employer's humble origins, business genius, and benevolence. He then expanded with equal tedium on the virtues of Tiger Balm itself, which he unhesitatingly hailed as a specific for everything from St. Anthony's fire to milk leg. Apparently this was the universal belief, for I afterward observed Chinese air passengers rubbing it on their foreheads to forestall airsickness, at the same time smearing it furtively on the fuselage to insure the plane's staying aloft. For a preparation consisting largely of menthol and balsam, it undoubtedly has extraordinary powers. They may derive from Mr. Haw himself, a mettlesome old party in carpet slippers, who gripped my hand with such extraordinary vigor that I was forced whimpering to my knees.
Which is where we pick up, with the master's interview with Mr. Haw about to take a surprising turn.
SO HOW DOES OUR MR. P GET ON WITH
MR. HAW? TO FIND OUT, CLICK HERE
THE SWISS FAMILY PERELMAN: OUR STORY SO FAR
Chapter 1, "Rancors Aweigh"
Part 1 -- Launching yet another journey
Part 2 -- San Francisco-bound
Chapter 2, "Low Bridge -- Everybody Down"
Part 1 -- The journey begins!
Part 2 -- Hooray for Hollywood!
Part 3 -- "Move over, Asia"
Chapter 3, "The Wild Blue Yonder"
Part 1 -- "Aboard the President Cleveland"
Part 2 -- Putting on the feedbag
Part 3 -- Hawaii to Hong Kong
Chapter 4, "Mama Don't Want No Rice"
Part 1 -- Breaking news!
Part 2 -- "You rat!"
THURBER TONIGHT (including WOODY ALLEN, ROBERT BENCHLEY, BOB AND RAY, WILL CUPPY, WOLCOTT GIBBS, RING LARDNER, S. J. PERELMAN, JEAN SHEPHERD, and E. B. WHITE TONIGHT): Check out the series to date