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Betsy — a lady with a certain reputation in Kowloon

2 June 2014

Betsy — a lady with a certain reputation in Kowloon

22° 18′ 04″ N / 114° 10′ 41″ E

I travelled to Asia to rendezvous with my wife, first landing in Hong Kong. Asia  where the colors black and red have different meanings than in the West, chopsticks not forks, soya sauce and fish sauce instead of salsa and mustard. So many other exotic differences to the eyes as well as the other senses. Before I continued on I first had to see another lady one I was compelled to see — as were so many men before me — so I made my way through the crush of people on the sidewalks to her house in Kowloon.

My wife would understand, if not approve, my compulsion.

Or…so I hoped?

I arrived at her house shortly after noon, paying the $25 Hong Kong ($3.22USD) cover charge for the privilege to see her, such is her reputation. Approaching her was formal, as these introductions are usually done, making my way up the flight of stairs as she looked down from on high at all her approaching admirers. There she was — trim with broad shoulders, bulges in the proper places and exuding her regal persona Betsy.

Betsy — photo by Joseph May

“Betsy” as seen in the warm hued ambient light of the Hong Kong Museum of Science — photo by Joseph May

Betsy, of course, is the first airliner for Cathay Pacific (國泰航空), a 1942 vintage Douglas DC-3 suspended within the Hong Kong Museum of Science (香港科學館). Cathay Pacific began as small airline with dreams of trans-Pacific travel by Roy Farrell (United States) and Sydney de Kantzow (Australian) in 1946. The airline was first to fly the transpolar route commercially, though much later after Betsy’s time, the common route today. Betsy served the airline during 1946–1953 and then sold as the airline modernized. Later, Cathay Pacific acted to preserve its heritage and found her, still flying in Queensland Australia, and brought her back home on 23 September 1983 after having her 1947 livery restored. The airline donated Betsy to the Hong Kong Science Museum where she is to this day. Perhaps in need of a dusting she is in the air where she belongs, nonetheless, commanding a maternal position in the museum bathed in a warm light as children play and explore beneath her.

Betsy — photo by Joseph May

Cathay Pacific’s “Betsy” with the image corrected to normal daylight color temperature — photo by Joseph May

Betsy — photo by Joseph May

Betsy as she looked in her day while working in 1947 — photo by Joseph May

Betsy — photo by Joseph May

Betsy (Cathay Pacific was then called Cathay Pacific Airways or, simply, CPA) — photo by Joseph May

Betsy — photo by Joseph May

Betsy watches over the children’s discovery area below — photo by Joseph May

Betsy — photo by Joseph May

Betsy has a fine look, even with her dust top coat — photo by Joseph May

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Betsy’s House though better known as the Hong Kong Museum of Science — 香港科學館

Hong Kong Science Museum Ticket Stub — photo by Joseph May

Hong Kong Science Museum Ticket Stub — photo by Joseph May

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