Snippets: Packing a Crate, Heat, and Mr. Duder

April 30, 1955

Dear Dad & Russ,

There really isn’t much to write about this week. Things have been fairly quiet around here for a change. Our new working hours are really wonderful! It’s so much better now, having to work just two afternoons out of the whole week. I usually sleep during every afternoon, as does everybody else here, because it’s too hot to do much else.

Last week Mr. Duder developed a case of Dengue fever and had a very high temperature for a few days. However, he is much better now and is taking some well-deserved leave in Hong Kong starting net Tuesday. I shall probably be going to Hong Kong before he returns to Phnom Penh but I’m not sure yet as to the exact date I shall be leaving. I still have to wait to hear when Errol Wyse is coming here from Tokyo before I can plan any leave.

By the way, did you know that we Canadians in Indochina are “assisted” with leave to Hong Kong? The Canadian Government pays half of our return flight from Saigon/Hong Kong/Saigon. This is because it is felt that leave to some place out of Indochina is a necessity rather than a luxury, so we are given special allowances to make certain that everybody can take advantage of it. Therefore, my plane ticket will cost me just about $67.00!! Not bad, eh?

I received an invitation last week from the Polish Delegation to attend a showing of a film on the life of Chopin next Monday night. I’m really looking forward to this, as are the other members of the delegation.

Oh by the way, the Army fellows here in Indochina are being allowed to ship excess baggage home by sea for free. Sgt. Plourde had quite a bit of extra space in the crate he was sending home so he asked me if I would like to send a few things home this way. He’s writing to his wife to let him know that I have some things in the trunk as well – my name and phone number are on everything so you will probably be hearing from Mrs. Plourde.

I figured I might as well get things started so I have sent the following in this shipment: 1 wooden elephant in a tine packed with socks; 1 pr. Foreign Legion boots; 1 large cloth bag containing 1 grey sports coat, 1 pr. grey flannel pants, 1 blue wool sweater, 1 pr. blue pyjamas; 1 envelope of booklets, papers, enlarged photos, etc.; 1 envelope containing 3 shorthand books and 1 book on Angkor Wat.

This crate, by the way, shall probably not reach Ottawa much before the middle of July, so don’t be expecting to hear from Mrs. Plourde before then. This is a good way of sending a few heavier items home in advance and there isn’t any real hurry or rush about anything I have included.

WHEW! Is it ever HOT!! It’s so hot here right now that you can hardly breathe! Not a breath of air anywhere;  just hot, still air all around. Wish it would snow or something!!

May 2, 1955

Today was one of those famous Cambodian holidays where everything is closed up tight. Therefore, no mail in the Post Office today. Oh, by the way, and I hope that this will not affect MY mail, the Vietnamese down in Saigon got slightly behind in their sorting of mail during the big fracas down there. As they did not want to hire any more people, they did the next logical thing, namely, BURNED some 61 mail bags!!! So now they’re all caught up and happy as all get out. What strange people!!!

Poor Mr. Duder has developed hepatitis on top of his Dengue fever. However, the doctor feels that he is well enough to go to Hong Kong tomorrow where he can see a specialist. Still no word from Tokyo, so I can’t say definitely yet as to when I shall be away to Hong Kong.

Well, honestly, it’s just too hot to sit still at a typewriter. So, if you’ll pardon me, I shall close this rather short letter now and get back to the hotel and under a nice cold shower.

Lots of love,

Dave

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