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Monday, 18 June 2012

Seeing the world. Saigon : Vietnam memories 1965 1975


Seeing the world. Saigon

My sister was on a world tour. Doing it more or less on the proverbial shoe string. After she left the Bahamas she had gone to Montreal and stayed with cousins and had then taken the train to Vancouver, a journey I've always regretted not having done. From there she got a bargain on some ship which carried a handful of passengers and went to Hong Kong via Japan and Korea, travelling through the latter by coach. In Hong Kong she worked for a time to stock up on funds before coming to Saigon. I think she rather expected me to visit her there. However I now needed an exit visa to leave South Vietnam and couldn't guarantee getting a new visa to get back in again so did not care to risk it. Afterwards she would go on to Australia via Thailand and Singapore. After many adventures in Australia, such as hitching a lift from Alice Springs to Darwin in a truck, the driver of which was in a hurry to get to Darwin for his fix before he cracked up. She travelled through Indonesia by boat in third class, cycled through Malaya and India before arriving back in the UK. Later she went back to Australia by ship and stayed for some years.

Our brother had done his travelling in the Royal Navy, mostly the Mediterranean, West Indies and South America. He had been to the Falklands when it was still an unheard of backwater.

At one time our family was living on four different continents. Post had improved from the original sea mail to air mail although telephone calls were few and far between. It was a time when letters from loved ones were cherished. I still wrote long if infrequent letters in those days. Absent from girl friends I awaited letters eagerly. The relationship between people was entirely different. I carried old photos with me, some of which I still have forty years later.

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