Saturday, May 16, 2009

South Vietnam 1973

After leaving the Tunisian airport with orders for Vietnam, the worst pounding head ache overtook my brain as our plane quickly lifted off at end of the runway.

The Tunisian customs officers had just tried to rip me off as they tried to over charge and intimidate me by saying my passport papers were totally not in order and I that I had to pay extra fees in order to board the plane!! As I sat there in my seat I said to myself, “if I ever come back here it will have to be with the first Marine division fully armed”.

I had to fly to Vietnam by way of Italy, because a direct flight to Israel from Tunisia would have been shot down as an Arabic airlines entering restricted airspace by an Arab country. The Italian airlines were the only way through to Israeli. As soon as our plane landed, immediately our plane was surrounded by jeeps and trucks with armed military personnel who boarded our plane, checked every ones passports and removed a few men who looked Arabic. Their wives began to cry out for their husbands who were literally yanked off the plane. Who knows what ever happened to them but they certainly did not get back on before we left.
Then to Bombay India where for the first time I saw professional beggars, hundreds of them all sitting in the airport lobby which stretched out was about as long as a half a football field. It was a pathetic scene of hypocrisy. The second I opened the glass door to this lobby a wail of moans and cry’s from this mass of Hindu people began almost as if it were a signal to perform to get us to empty out our wallets to them as they begged. The heat was unbearably hot and humid.
Thailand on the other hand was different, everyone who greeted us were friendly and professional, no begging at the airport, no groans just people working at getting us processed.

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