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Tuesday, 19 June 2007

A long leave is called for. Saigon, Vietnam

One morning sitting in Brodard's in down town Saigon I took the decision to take a long leave outside Vietnam. A change of climate was called for. I didn't discuss it with anyone. I went home and said I was leaving for three months. Married life is not the same as a batchelor's and it was deided for me that all the family would go along.

Where? My family had moved back to England from the Bahamas which had become independent and were making things difficult for non Bahamians. My father had complicated matters when, after building the new Post Office he took the new government to court and won the case. My mother had bought a cottage in Somerset against a rainy day, so as they were not getting any younger they went there. It was a shame for my father. He had no desire to retire, but had been working with the Americans so long that he was completetely out of touch with UK practices, let alone the decimalisation of everything.

KC had a lot of family in France so it was decided to go to Europe. We would stay a while in England and then she and son would visit her somewhat large family whilst I rested and tried to get my health back together.

Leaving Vietnam was not that easy. One needed an exit visa. To get it required the official stamps from six administrations. I had a great difficulty in proving how much money I had been earning. Not that I had ever declared much. I was saved by the fact that my brother in law had various enterprises. He had this printer's business, an old printing press was still dumped in one of my spare rooms. He was also into producing films. But as he was French he couldn't own a business in Vietnam. This was in his sister's name, as was our house which was owned by another sister in France. Under Vietnamese law the husband was legally responsible for everything. So tax returns etc. were all in my name. Most strange actually as I was also a foreigner! Anyway having theoretically paid all these taxes etc. I could prove what an honest citizen I'd been and get the necessary stamps.

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