Heat and THE FORMS

May 9, 1955

Dear Dad & Russ,

You know how it is when you’ve been in swimming for a long time – you begin to wonder to yourself what “wet” feels like. That is, you get so used to being wet that you don’t feel wet any longer – if you get what I mean. Well, that is somewhat the same feeling I have here in Cambodia – only with the HEAT instead of water. It is so hot all the time that now I’m hardly conscious of the heat!! I know that sounds ridiculous but it’s true. Back in Canada we really feel a HOT day in summer because the other days are usually not too bad. But over here, when every day is just as hot as the one before, you begin to wonder if it really is hot at all. But it is. I can assure you!!!

The dip bag arrived this morning containing a BIG envelope from Dominion Life with your most welcome letter of April 28 and those wonderful, wonderful clippings, etc.

You know, I just about had a fit laughing at that tremendous account of “Round the world in 50 Crises”!!! And it’s all only to true!!! I especially loved the part about “We learned to fill in forms”. Did I ever tell you about THE FORMS??!!!???!! I do believe I forgot to mention them in my letters. They are, without a doubt, the most ridiculous things imaginable!!! They usually read something like this (with space for “filling in” as indicated:

Name:…..Age:……………………………………………..Sex:………………….(M or F)

Occupation:….Coming from:…………………………….Going to:…………………….

Purpose of visit:…Name and address of next of kin:…Nationality..

Etc., etc. And, as the author of your clipping has pointed out, they are inevitably printed on flimsy tissue paper and have to be filled out in triplicate. Also, they are presented for filling out at the most weird moments. For example, when Cecile and I flew to Bangkok, we were first handed THE FORMS and before we could even get out a pencil, the stewardess on the plane burdened us down with trays of food. These were eventually cleared away, THE FORMS filled out….but…no stewardess. Which meant that you had to grasp the darn things for the complete journey till just before landing, then the stewardess came flying from seat to seat frantically collecting THE FORMS!!! On the return flight, however, it was a slightly different routine. I had to be at the airport a good two hours before flight time (why I’ll never know – we just all sat around for two hours!). The Siamese stewardess presented us with THE FORMS while still waiting at the Bangkok Airport, then, as if on cue, a little man appeared and insisted that we have a complimentaqry Coke. The Coke of course was icy cold and very soon became dripping wet due to the intesne heat of the day. So there you sat, with a dripping bottle of Coke in one hand and THE FORMS in the other, not quite sure which of these two objects to tackle first.

Well, it’s definitely settled. All being well, I shall be leaving Phnom Penh for Saigon a week from Friday (May 20) and leaving for Hong Kong on May 21!! Which means, of course, MORE FORMS!!! We still haven’t heard any news from Tokyo yet but I was told to go ahead with my plans anyways, as we are in a rather quiet period with the Delegation’s work at the present time. I shall be returning to Saigon on May 28, then back to Phnom Penh (the bush) on May 30. Which will give me a full week in that glorious city of Hong Kong!! Needless to say, I can hardly wait!

Well, tonight is movie night at the American Embassy again. As it is now after seven o’clock and I still have to get shaved and showered, I think I shall have to close this letter for now.

Lots of love,

Dave

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