Letter from Vietnam: A short but amusing piece on Sunny Saigon from the Australian’s “the Wry Side”… and it is certainly wry…
“The Rex Hotel, a grand white palace where war correspondents, spies and top brass once drank cold beer, thrums with vitality. Pretty young women and their cocksure boyfriends slurp cocktails with ridiculous names.
I took the lift to the ground floor and an American veteran of the Vietnam War stared at me. “They shot me four times,” he shouted as if it had happened yesterday.
He opened his shirt to reveal a ragged, round scar in the middle of his chest. “They shot me here, in ma gut, ma leg and ma foot.” He would have shown more scars had the lift not reached its destination.
“Ah had to come back here just one more time before ah die,” he explained.
The next day, I saw him again on the street near the Rex walking with an old GI pal. Both men had veteran’s badges and had been buying war souvenirs: engraved lighters, hip-flasks and “commie” posters.