March 12, 1955
Dear Dad & Russ,
Would you believe it – this is absolutely the first moment I have been able to write you folks since returning from Bangkok las Thursday. And by all intents and purposes I really should not be taking the time to write personal letters during office hours. Golly, we’ve been been so very, very busy lately it’s unbelievable! I’ve worked nearly 15 hours overtime just since the first of March already! Last night, for example, I finished up a 35-page report at 11 p.m.!
Last night at the dinner table we all decided that we just couldn’t face another meal from the menu. I must admit, the meals are beginning to get rather monotonous. The menu has not changed since we got here, and although it did take us some time to go right through it, we are all on the the third and fourth round now. So, instead of ordering dinner at “la Taverne”, we each ordered four fresh eggs, butter, bread, cheese and “borrowed” a dozen or so plates, knives, forks, etc. and came over here to the office. While I was typing that 35-page report, the rest of the fellows sat around playing cards or reading books. The, at around 11 o’clock, we gathered in the kitchen and Howie got out a tiny frying pan from his Army mess kit and we took turns frying ourselves some eggs in butter. UMMM!!! Were they ever good! We plan to do this more often, whenever we get tired of the usual hotel food.
About Siam. If I even began to tell you about my trip it would surely take me the rest of the day to do so. I’ve simply got oodles of things to tell you about Bangkok, but (alas) no time to do so. Sooo, I’m terribly afraid that you’re just going to have to wait five and a half months till I get home to hear all about Siam. All I can say now is that it was wonderful beyond my wildest dreams. Even now I have to stop to think if I really saw such fabulous sights of if I was just dreaming the whole time. Here’s something. While in Bangkok I took some 35 colour photos. I am sending these to Paris next week to have made into colour slides which I shall have returned to me here in Phnom Penh. Then I am going to number each slide, list what they are on a piece of paper, and send them to you folks in Ottawa.
As you’ve probably read in the papers, the King of Cambodia abdicated last week. This has thrown the Commission into quite a flap and what happens now is anyone’s guess!
That 35-page report I told you I was working on last Friday has blossomed into 56 pages today!! I just finished it a few minutes ago and was told there’s more to come. Also, the darn thing is still a draft so I have visions of months of straight typing getting it into final form. Overworked and underpaid (ha!), that’s me.
Just five and half months to go and I shall be home again!!! I can hardly believe it – no fooling. It sure will be wonderful to be home again. I can hardly wait to see the apartment again. Just to be able to walk on carpets, see pictures on the walls and curtains in the windows (with glass!) will be one of the biggest thrills of my life. I think I mentioned it before but our rooms here is completely bare of any decorations whatsoever. No carpets, no curtains, and not a picture to break the bleakness of the walls. Just two beds (hard as rock), a table and a bedside table with three or four hard-backed chairs – that’s all. And to be able to sleep without a mosquito net – it’s going to be wonderful. Some of the fellows who will be going home about the same time as I am figured it out the days – about 165 more to go!
A British frigate [HMS Opossum] landed here in Phnom Penh last Saturday morning. We Canadians have undertaken to entertain these sailors while here so tonight we are giving a party in their honour on the roof of the Cercle Sportif. Should be fun. Which reminds me, I must get away now back to the hotel to have dinner, change, etc., for the party.
lots of love,
PS: The heat here now is too much to mention!! I’ve never seen anything like it! It’s ridiculous. Back home, if it were ever this hot, everything would just close down and stop. But over here, work must go on in spite of the heat. (Sigh) Oh well, that’s the way it goes.