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 Post subject: Scenes at the open air market...
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:23 pm 
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Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
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Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 9:04 pm
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Location: North Antelope Coal Mine
...and random memories. Since I was stuck away from home due to a derailment yesterday, I had plenty of time to write. I also made a few notes from (faulty) memory. Odd what thoughts remain in the mind after so many years. What's left of the mind, anyway.

Every village had an open market. There were simply no stores in the rural parts of Viet Nam, and Cam Lo was very rural. It was the last inhabited village in the NW. Three miles north was the DMZ, and 12 miles west was Laos. Just north of Cam Lo, it was a free fire zone all the way to the DMZ. ("If it moves, shoot it." )

Back to the market... considerable merchandise was aimed at the American market. "thousand miler" sandals made of old tires and strips of inner tube were popular. $5 in MPC ( military payment scrip) or 3 Vietnamese Piastres. ( it was illegal to pay in US Dollars)Less for sandals made from the tire sidewall.

Camera straps, camo hats with a snap up brim, hippy head bands, 45 holsters made from cheep pressed leather were all good sellers. Watches? Ha! Sucker bait! The jewels had been carefully pried from the case.

Also sucker bait was the booze. Tiny holes were drilled in liquor bottles to drain most of the actual good stuff which was replaced with... I dunno... smelled like acetone or rubbing alcohol. A dummy in my company bought a 5th of "Johnny Walker Red". He tried a small taste and retched. A small amount poured in a canteen cup ignited and burned with a barely visible flame. I still think it was acetone mixed with whatever remained of the original contents. Beer was flat no good. People will say "Ba Mi Ba" ( 33) beer was good. Maybe if you got the unadulterated product instead of river water flavored with acetone & added to the mostly empty bottle... our medic looked at some under a microscope & said it contained bits of raw sewage. Yum.

Food items Americans bought included bread rolls made from rice flour - I tried some on the theory bacteria and bugs had all perished in the oven. Not bad but needed real butter & jam.

Saw a vendor hawking scoops of "ice cream" in tiny cones. I think it was actually sorbet. Didn't try that. Smoked octopus? You bet! A friend bought one & offered me a tentacle. A tiny piece put me in mind of a rubber band soaked in tuna fish oil. Yuck.

Portions of rice & other veggies wrapped in banana leaf... pass. Passed on the local extra small bananas. I heard the hand was a great place for large spiders to lurk. I heard the local peppers were way hot. Pass. I was given a bite of one while on R&R in Bangkok, but that's a story for another day.

Among items of note were the bags of betel nut. All the older women chewed that. Turned their gums and teeth black... or the parts of the teeth that hadn't rotted away. A vendor offered me one to sample in Hue' once when our patrol paused near the market. Tasted like a rotten pistachio. Nearby older women had a good laugh at the face I made before spitting it out.

MSG was sold in large quantities. Saw it offered in 5 gallon tins. It's supposed to bad for you, but Asians must be immune.

I did buy incense & mailed it home to girls from HS who wrote while I was there. They all said it was the best incense "EVER". It had to be to mask certain odors encountered at rural funerals. "Embalming? Never heard of it!"

I bought some silk fabric & sent that home. Mom made stuff for my sisters from it. I was told in later years I should have bought whole bolts & raked in a profit. But as a lowly Cpl, I wasn't flush enough for an enterprise like that.

Second tour, kids sold weed for bargain basement prices. Like a gas mask bag full of screened buds for a fast fiver. I heard it was good stuff. The crap grew like sagebrush in Wyo - it was everywhere.

The kids were accomplished thieves, too. Speedy little bastages in towns would get in the driver's blind spot & sprint up to jump on the running board and grab the watch from his wrist. They were also adept at jumping in the back of trucks and toss stuff out which was speedily whisked away by their pals.

An engineer told me his crew constantly lost equipment and coolers to juvenile thieves in Dong Ha. Every day, the same kid would jump in the back & throw anything he could lift into the road for friends to make disappear. He was just too fast to grab. Arrogant, too. He reportedly made rude faces and gestures to the soldiers after looting their truck & escaping unscathed.

It got so bad, one of the crew covered himself with a tarp for the trip to their job site. Young Master Thief jumped in the truck to start tossing out whatever was loose only to be grabbed and held down when he threw the tarp aside. The truck sped away, and the young thief was very severely beaten. My friend said that was the last time they were victimized. He said the irate soldiers beat the dog crap out of him.

Not very nice? Nope, but it was a war, you see. You don't see? Yeah... it's hard even for me to visualize some of that, and I was there. SW

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 Post subject: Re: Scenes at the open air market...
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:29 pm 
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VA-75 Spook
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Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:46 pm
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Location: Ooooo-Hio
....perhaps some thought might be giving to writing a book of these experiences ?...seems 'reality' shows and books are in these days

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 Post subject: Re: Scenes at the open air market...
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 12:26 am 
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Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
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Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 9:04 pm
Posts: 7832
Location: North Antelope Coal Mine
Something like this couldn't hold a stick to fabricated reality programming. this actually happened, you see. SW

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Darkness is all around us and enemy are just beyond the perimeter.


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 Post subject: Re: Scenes at the open air market...
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 1:49 am 
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VA-75 Spook
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Yeah...I know....mebbe its time 'reality' was made REAL....and I was refering to a book-not a schlocky tv show.....

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....Naj puška govori!....
.............deplorable typical "bitter clinger"....


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 Post subject: Re: Scenes at the open air market...
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:49 am 
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Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
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Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 9:04 pm
Posts: 7832
Location: North Antelope Coal Mine
Oh, maybe someday. I'd rather sell fiction, though. SW

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Darkness is all around us and enemy are just beyond the perimeter.


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 Post subject: Re: Scenes at the open air market...
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:35 pm 
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Master Sergeant
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Thanks for sharing that Hogger....glad you made it out. My first husband was there..Army(yeah I've had a couple), he never would talk about it....even to this day. My brother-in-law was there as well...Marines. he has talked to me some...not much,but some.
It's so hard for someone like me to even imagine....
I have such respect for our soldiers...past and present. Thank you for your service....

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 Post subject: Re: Scenes at the open air market...
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:10 pm 
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Brigadier General
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Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:26 am
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Location: Minnesota , USA
you might try mixing the reality with your fiction , perhaps it will touch those that remember and those that think your only speaking fiction , most good fiction needs a firm base in well researched truth - in your case you can draw on research you did a long time ago ,

i really think you will succeed , i think your writing will sell

i also think marios art will sell with good marketing


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