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Sunday, 14 February 2010

Memories of Vietnam: part 4

4

Saigon, arrival

July 1965


I was not met when I descended from the aircraft. Perhaps it was my appearance, suit and tie, trilby (I've still got it) brief-case and furled umbrella.


I commandeered two U.S. military policemen and their jeep and we spent an hour driving around Tan Son Nhut airport looking for a building with a special twin aerial, unique to Decca, denoting the main office. They did not quite know what to make of me; perhaps my umbrella etc. helped my use of authority. We were successful.


I learnt later one fellow in similar circumstances spent two weeks in the Caravel Hotel before he found the office. There were however many distractions between the two. One chap didn't even get off the aircraft and flew straight on to wherever. Perhaps cold feet at the last moment!


Certain arrivals have left lasting impressions on me. Berlin in 1957 after crossing East Germany by darkened troop train at night. Havana just after Castro had taken over (I then couldn't get out). Hong Kong during the Cultural Revolution. Saigon was another. It is a feeling related to war, communist menace or adventure. It beats tourism every time.

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Book of Shadows.

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