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Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Green tea. Memories of Saigon. Vietnam


The picture above is of another singer in my collection of cassettes from before the fall.

Tea was the usual drink. As I utterly loathed the English fashion of putting milk in it I was very happy. Green tea could be had almost anywhere , usually free, and as the water had been boiled it was relatively safe. Coffee was of the robusta variety, very strong, drunk out of small glasses with a lot of sugar. I drank far too much and at times my nerves suffered.

There was a habit in Asia during big celebratory dinners to put bottles of whisky or brandy on the tables. Neither I nor the people I associated with did this and we usually had wine. There was a strong French influence in certain families.

I have mentioned earlier that the beer was lousy. The cheap beer, Larue, for the peasant classes. Very weak and tasteless. And '33' or Ba muoi ba. Strong, horrible taste and frankly some form of gutrot but far safer than the 'Mekong whisky' that thankfully I never tried.

Certain supplies of drink could be had from the PX or black market. Jim very kindly gave me a case of Johnny Walker Black Label for my wedding.

There was a time when I was at Van Kiep that the only drink available from the PX was gin. Gin and tang (an orange powder) and warm water. No ice. Never again. Another time at Phan Thiet when our water supplies had been destroyed and the only beer, American, was revolting. I won't give the name here.

Westerners tended to drink far too much. Some war weary Vietnamese men did but I never noticed much drinking. Vietnamese women rarely drank.

4 comments:

how said...

Nice to meet you!
My name is Huy. I�m from VN& I�m 21 years old. By chane;I search on flickr.com & I saw your picture that you uploaded(maybe it�s been taken for a long time). I saw the pictures that you taken at Phan Thiết in the VN war period. I love to research about our war(especially ;searching by watching the images).My hometown is Phan Thiết. But I�m studing at Saigon)t makes me interesting when I saw the same place in the different time.I guess that you were a correspondent? I want to ask you 1 thing:do you have any pic&May you upload more?
Yours faithfully!
PS:Forgive me if this bothers you:)

vnrozier said...

Hello,
If you visit this blog there is a series of photos on Phan Thiet taken in 1968. There are also some posts on the events of that year. I was stationed at the airstrip on the hill past the old cemetary and worked for the US Defense Department. I also worked free lance for the press.
Have you seen the pictures in this blog and read the posts on Phan Thiet.
Regards

Adria Balgassi said...

You write so beautifully. I think I've told you that already... but I think it every time I read a new post from you.

You bring your time in Vietnam to life in so many interesting ways. Thank you for sharing.

vnrozier said...

Ah, but then Adria you are always so kind.
My thoughts and actions in the past were not always so but then perhaps I have reached an age of relative stability and I read somewhere that one's basic character is formed during the first two or three years of life which really depends on one's mother.

BBCVietnamese.com | Trang chủ | Tin thế giới

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