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Homely, bespectacled Polly Barlow leaves her mother's bakery shop in England to go on a world cruise as a traveling companion to her rich and vulgar aunt, Mrs. Innes-Hook. Polly's uncle, Robert Hook, is supposed to meet them in Singapore, but he becomes too occupied with his Chinese mistress and sends an Eurasian guide, Amaz, to show them the sights of the city. After devouring a huge meal, Mrs. Innes-Hook drowns in the hotel swimming pool, leaving the 21-year-old Polly in possession of the dead woman's jewelry and money. Under the guidance of Amaz, Polly buys new clothes and contact lenses, which improve her plain appearance considerably--to the amazement of Robert, who arrives for Mrs. Innes-Hook's funeral. Later, Rick Preston, another tourist, begins to court her, and Polly then realizes that she has become an attractive young woman. Although aware that Amaz is a gigolo who would never consider marriage, Polly does not discourage his advances, but eventually she decides that it is time to fly back to England. As she prepares to sail for Hong Kong, Polly receives a talking parrot as a farewell present from Amaz.