It hardly seems possible that it is nearly three months since I left Canada for the mysterious Far East! I just came back from a glorious afternoon at the swimming pool. We are into the “winter” season here now and at night the temperature sometimes goes down as low as 70! Just imagine. The local population are all wearing sweaters or jackets in the evenings around here, but to us Canadians, well, it’s just like a fresh summer’s evening. The temperature during the day is still well up into the 80s and this afternoon was no exception. I think I got another layer of suntan today and the coolness of the water was a welcome relief from the heat. We still do not use any bedclothes at night except a thin white sheet. The only difference I can see between the winter and summer season around here is that I don’t sweat as much. The sky is a deep, deep blue and everything is green as can be, and flowers – well – the beauty of them is almost indescribable. I suppose you folks have had some snow by now back home (but it hardly seems possible) and that winter overcoats are being used. I still wear nothing but white shorts, open-weave short-sleeved white shirts, short socks and sandals. I’m sure that I shall collapse when I try on my heavy winter overcoat again.
The Army have made arrangements for a big Christmas dinner next month where the Officers serve and wait on the tables of all the NCO’s (Non-Commissioned Officers). Unfortunately, as I am neither an NCO, Officer, nor Senior Ext. Affs. Personnel, I fall into a category by myself. Wait until you hear what has been done about me! As I live with, chum around with and eat with the NCO’s, a special order has been issued whereas I shall attend the NCO’s Christmas dinner disguised as a Sergeant! You see, these dinners are strictly for Army personnel but as I am the only junior civilian here, permission has been granted that I attend as an honorary Sergeant. Why a Sgt. You might ask? Simply because Sgt. Bright here is about the same size as I am and his is the only uniform that will fit me. Should be lots of fun.
Oh, by the way, our Ambassador Mr. Macdonnell left for Ottawa yesterday and now my boss, Mr. Duder, has become Ambassador.
P.S. This isn’t very important but here are a few little statistics I picked up the other day regarding Indochina:
The whole country covers 286,000 sq. miles (about half the size of Ontario).
- Laos 70,000 sq. miles
- Cambodia 89,000
- Vietnam 127,000
- Laos 1,200,000
- Cambodia 4,000,000
- Vietnam 21,000,000
- Total: 26,200,000
- Phnom Penh: 400,000
That’s all. Just thought you might be interested.