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Friday, 2 March 2007

Going slowly home; Viet memories

When I was in the army the regiment went off to the colonies or various wars by troopship. They also came home again by troopship. The French had used the 'Messagerie Maritime' to sail from Marseilles to Saigon and back again. It is the slowly going back home again that is important. I do not believe it is either good for the person concerned or indeed for his family to step straight off a plane from some distant war and suddenly appear on one's doorstep.
As a tourist ship from Bangkok was the last thing I wanted if indeed there had been one, I had flown from Saigon to Bangkok and then taken the train down to a small distant town on that narrow part of the country that is between Thailand, Burma and Malaya. I went to a place on the eastern coast that had a practically deserted hotel where I took a wooden hut on stilts for a week and drank whatever was bothering me out of my system.
I then made my way back to our office in Washington, stopping off here and there but not hurrying. Just slowly winding down. When about three weeks after leaving Saigon I reported into our office I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and feeling in fine form. I had an agreable meeting with the powers that be and then flew down to the Bahamas via Miami.
The greetings at home went off perfectly and I settled in for a long leave.

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