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Sunday, 28 October 2012

The return of the stranger to England. Saigon. Memories of Vietnam 1965 1975

The return of the stranger to England. Saigon.

Because KC had to keep her Vietnamese nationality it meant getting a new passport. If she had left on her British passport it would have caused all sorts of problems relating to her legal status on re-entering South Vietnam, not to mention the property and businesses registered in her name.

This caused numerous delays and it became very difficult to reserve a flight.
Eventually I went off alone and she and son followed on a week later.

We all stayed in England a while and then they moved on to France to do the rounds of family whom she had not seen for many years. I would go over to France on a visit when I felt better.
The change of climate did me a world of good and I immediately began to eat better.

As I was only on a long visit to England at that time the social changes that had happened during my absence of nearly twenty years did not concern me. We were in a village in Somerset where time had stood still for a century. As I was forbidden alcohol for a year there was no visiting pubs so no real contact with the people. I gradually began walking again, mostly over the hills and fields. I was now very much the stranger, the outsider, the oddity. The fellow who had come back from the Far East. From a country no one had visited. When I was at a specialists getting a checkup he asked the nurse who was present if she had heard of Saigon. The answer was 'no'.

I found in fact the only people I could talk to as equals were those men, twenty years older than myself, who had been through the Second World War. None of this mattered as I was not intending to stay.

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