First Visit – Last Day

On the morning of our last day, the desk woke me up at some ungodly hour, something like 7:00 a.m., as the bus was due to arrive at our hotel at 8:30 a.m. and the staff wanted to be sure we had all paid up our sundry additional charges. They had, rather for the same reason as Pee Dang and his car hire fee, required that we pay the room rent for the entire week ahead of time. Very very politely, but very very firmly and they accepted American money and Vietnamese money and military script or Thai money and paid us our change in Thai money. No credit cards accepted, but we were enlisted men not officers and what company in its right corporate mind would have given one of us a credit card? Continue reading

First Visit – Day Five

Today was tourist day.  At about five in the morning, I got a telephone call, which startled and surprised me no end; I mean, who would know to call me here??  It turned out to be an NCO from the R&R Centre, letting me know that the departure day was the day after tomorrow.  He could have called later, wouldn’t you think?  But, being a good soldier, I said, “Thanks, Sarge,” and slammed the phone down.  After yet another good breakfast at the hotel restaurant, Pee Dang took me around the city as a tourist Continue reading

First Visit – Day Four

This day is different.  When we get out of bed about 8 a.m., Nit says she has to go visit her mother, so after a brief chat about meeting sometime later at Thai Heaven, I give her 50 baht taxi money and she’s gone.  Downstairs at 8:45 or so, into the restaurant – that place has become more popular with me than the bars; I spent more time there!  Continue reading

First Visit – Day Three

Prior to leaving the hotel parking lot – which was in the rear off the street as many of them were in those days – Pee Dang told me that his fee for the five days was 1,000 baht plus gasoline, payable in advance. I thought about it for a minute and tried to bargain with him, but he was quite firm and clinched it by saying “Is custom with GI tour.” So, I promptly paid him and off we went, back along New Petchaburi Road. I realised afterwards, of course, that his insistence on being paid in advance was to insure that he got paid at all. Many of us GI’s were quite capable of spending all our money on “wine, women and song” and stiffing the driver at the last minute. Continue reading

First Visit – Day Two

Starting off from where we left me back in July of 1966, sound asleep in my hotel room, in the Olympia Hotel (third floor front if I remember right). I awoke about 10 am, well-rested but a bit disoriented. I mean, we had left Vietnam – the front shooting part, not the rear-area, movie theatre and PX part – about 24 hours before my awakening. Continue reading