The trend of Hong Kong offices being turned into hotels and vice versa has taken a new twist. The latest instalment in the ongoing saga centres on the Western District, where hotels have become a scarce commodity in recent times. About three years ago China Merchants knocked down its hotel in Western saying it was smarter to build an office block. The crowning glory of this construction, when completed, will be a giant rugby ball on top of the building. Almost directly across Des Voeux Road West, Henderson Land has been putting up a huge commercial construction. Carrying on the little touch of Vegas in our own backyard is the well-known golden pyramid on top of the development. Yesterday, with Henderson's building nearly finished, Pearl Oriental Holdings bought about a third of the block and said it would convert the office accommodation into a hotel. The net result, after three years of demolition and construction, is that the hotel and the office space have swapped sides of the road. *** Marketing man Steve Creighton had a rather difficult job working out his best deal on an airfare on a trip to Los Angeles recently. He swears a conversation with his travel agent went something like this: 'What is the cheapest flight you have on September 1?' 'United, $6,120' 'Hmmm . . . United?? I'm surprised. I would have thought that Air China would be cheaper. How much are they?' 'Air China?? . . . wait minute . . . $5,480.' 'So they are cheaper; I thought that you said that United was the cheapest?' 'Sorry, Air China fly not every day. So United cheapest for a Sunday.' 'Oh, I see . . . so Air China doesn't fly on Sundays?' 'Yes, Sunday no problem.' 'Huh? But you just told me that I'd have to take United if I went on a Sunday.' 'Sorry - United no fly on Sunday.' 'Fine, fine, whatever. What are the prices for Philippine Air and Korean Air?' 'Uh . . . let's see . . . Philippine Air . . . $5,230 . . . Korean Air . . . $5,880.' 'Huh? They're both less than United. So in other words, EVERYBODY is cheaper than United!' 'No, not everybody. Northwestern Oriented cost more.' 'Really, how much are they?' '$4,800.' *** An advertisement for Jardine Fleming spotted by a punter waiting at a bus-stop outside Jardine House in Central on Thursday night contained an unusual message - 'Look how close investment centre you are to a JF'. Our razor-sharp reader couldn't make head nor tail of this, and quickly did some detective work. He reversed the order of the second and third panels of the advertisement, and came up with a message which made a bit more sense - 'Look how close you are to a JF investment centre'. *** One small postscript to yesterday's Windows 95 piece. The Microsoft marketing machine might have the resources to outlay tens of millions of dollars on a software advertising campaign - but its global resources don't always bring home the bacon. Lai See's colleagues on Technology Post requested an interview with the first person to buy Windows 95 in Hong Kong, a gentleman by the name of Stanley Tang. But on the first anniversary of the launch of the programme, there's no sign of Mr Tang - a university student when last spotted - despite the best efforts of the Microsoft public relations machine. *** Investing in 'ugly duckling' economies in the hope they'll one day transform into swans carries its own unique risks. Ample evidence of this comes from the full year result of The Pakistan Fund released on Thursday. The 12 months to June 1995 was a bit of a difficult time if you had money in the fund, partly because of law and order problems in Karachi - including strikes and killings. These types of developments can tend to put a bit of a downer on stock markets, and partly as a consequence, the fund lost more than $407,000 for the 1994-95 year. Happily, things have taken a turn for the better in the fund's latest reporting year. With a 'marked decline in the number of strikes and reported killings', conditions were looking far rosier during the first half of 1996, the company said. Not enough, however, to put the fund in the black - it still recorded a $128,000 loss for the year to June.