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Saturday, 10 March 2007

Karachi. Pakistan. Vietnam Memories

In Paris I thought the best thing was to get to as near to Vietnam as I could so I took a flight bound for Thailand. I had no clear plan in mind. My own return had been rather upset by these developments. In Washington I had sent a telegram to the Saigon office asking them to reserve me a room at the Hôtel Majestique, and another to PB saying I was on my way back.
These had arrived well before the offensive, although I discovered later the office had done nothing about reserving a room. Our local secretary had been replaced by some utterly incompetent American woman who was there for whose pleasure I'm not sure but certainly not for the benefit of Decca employees.
On the plane to Bangkok I tried to analyse my thoughts, but I think they had become frozen. They should have been on PB, who was perhaps the real reason for my return, but I'm not sure that a desire to be part of the unfolding events wasn't uppermost in my mind. The job, although agreable, was not my priority. My initiative was perhaps stronger than that of most of our personnel, but the motivation behind it was entirely different. I stayed stone cold sober, not having even a beer, as I tended to do when faced with major developments.
As we approached Karachi the Captain came to see me and asked me if I had a visa for Thailand. I said no as I had no interest in visiting the country and was only stopping over at the airport to hitch a lift to Saigon. He seemed to take this lack of visa very seriously, whilst I couldn't give a damn. The result was he put me off the plane at Karachi. I spent a miserable few hours on some camp bed in a very depressing room, with only a glass of orange juice. I have mentioned earlier that I hadn't even had a beer on the flight, but it is always irritating to arrive at odd airports in the night and find everything closed. To name a few, it had happened in Hawaii, Midway and Wake Island before.
In the morning I went to the Thai Embassy and thankfully obtained a visa in an hour, went back to the airport and took a flight to Bangkok. I hadn't even had the desire to spend a day there, which is what I usually did when I found myself stuck in strange places.

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