Friday, 9 November 2007
A photo taken at the Cirque Sportif, Saigon. This must have been in the early 1970s. The occasion is entirely without interest to my readers. Its quite possible it was about 1972 during the massive communist offensive that saw Quang Tri destroyed, along with the South Vietnamese Marine and Parachute divisions. That saw the destruction of An Loc not far to the north west of Saigon. If I recollect Kontum was nearly lost also.
The Cirque Sportif was an oasis of peace. Tennis, swimming pool, air conditioned library, the main reception room with its slow turning fans. It was just behind the Presidential Palace. I usually judged the political, security temperature of the country by the relaxed or alert attitude of the soldiers guarding the palace.
Big Minh and Nguyen Cao Khy would arrive at the club ,security guards and all, to play tennis. The players were correctly dressed in white, so the world was still a civilised place.
And the children in the photo. Some children's fête perhaps. As I was leaving with my family when it finished I still remember a French mother arriving with her six year old son, all in a hurry. But the carnival was over, Madame.