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Thursday, 22 March 2007

Return to Saigon: Vietnam

I had been recalled to Saigon. There was a problem over my residents status. The South Vietnamese government were for ever changing the rules . Sometimes things had to be done before you entered the country and sometimes after. As the office were not sure where I would be next I went with all the equipment I possessed. Not much as my trunk was still stuck someplace at the airport.
Evidently two of our people, both English, had overstayed their visas. Probably the office's fault, as they were becoming more and more incompetent. Passing through immigration whilst going on leave they had had stamps in their passports refusing them re-entry into Vietnam for overstaying their visas. It certainly wasn't their fault. However, it was the begining of a crackdown by the authorities. Why they should jump on their allies who were in Vietnam to help the fight against the communists is a question one might ask. It seems to be ever the way in war that allies fall out. There was a great deal of resentment amongst many Vietnamese against foreigners who were far better off. Also they were trying to flex their muscles and show how efficient they were. We of course were easier targets than the Viet Cong. After all at least two battalions had infiltrated Saigon before the recent offensive and the South Vietnamese authorities had done nothing. So why not kick out all who broke any rules.
I took advantage of this visit to go to Tan Son Nhut and recover my trunk. On looking at my passport the authorities asked how I had entered the country without having the necessary stamps in my passport. I told them somewhat pointedly that when I had arrived during the fighting there had been nobody on duty. Where had they been I said. That shut them up, but probably did nothing to improve relations either.
At least I was able to see PB for a couple of days. This continued absense was not helping our reunion either. I was far too occupied at Phan Thiet to worry about that though. I would pay for it later. I've never really understood the female thought process.

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