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  1. #1
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    1968 - First Time in Bangkok

    As I prepare to travel to Bangkok in November for my annual visa run from the Philippines, it occurred to me that it was Thanksgiving 1968 when I made my first trip to the LOS. Hard to imagine it was 41 years ago! Nineteen years old, and fresh from the mountains of the northern part of what was then South Vietnam. A young, 19 year old Sergeant in the 101st Airborne. After hours of waiting, finally on the plane! Land in Thailand and get the obligatory VD lectures, a bit on local culture and customs, and we are cut loose.

    Immediately are grabbed up by a cab driver, who has joints, cold beer, and the addresses of lovely young virgins. Off we go! Get some civilian clothes and check into one of the R&R hotels, I believe it was the Grace or the Nana. No go-go bars back then (it would be another year or so before Rick Menard would open the first go-go bar, The Grand Prix, on a quiet little soi called Pat Pong). All the action was up around Rama IV, in Thai-style dancehalls. Lovely young ladies who, as I recall, spoke much better English than the bargirls of today. They must have been able to communicate, since at that time I spoke no Thai.

    Five days of debauchery, and then back to the war for another six months. Armed with photos of my Thai honey, two cheap suits, and a star sapphire ring (and no VD). I swore then I would be back, and since then, I have lived in the LOS for six years, and visited at least annually.

    Fond memories of a simpler time in the LOS.......

  2. #2
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    Cujo's Avatar
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    So where are all the pics then?

  3. #3
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    Simple maybe be but hard to feel any nostalgia for those not part of that insane and pointless war against the North Vietnamese, or for kids in uniform using Thailand as an R&R brothel. It's a pity VC did not kick the USA's arse a bit harder in the '68 tet offensive and that Johnson did not pull the plug then it would have saved an awful lot of young American lives.I don't feel that kids like you were to blame, what the hell did they know at the time.
    Should add that my best buddy here was in the ist cav and on Westmorelands staff, the whole thing seems to still affect him all these years later, nothing to get nostalgic over and for those were the days posts, just my opinion.

  4. #4
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    With deep regret, I no longer have them. My first ex-wife, in a fit of insanity, destroyed any/all pictures I had of that period in my life which included photos of Asian women. I knew somebody would ask that, and wish I had some to share.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davis Knowlton View Post
    With deep regret, I no longer have them. My first ex-wife, in a fit of insanity, destroyed any/all pictures I had of that period in my life which included photos of Asian women. I knew somebody would ask that, and wish I had some to share.
    Bummer.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    1968 - First Time in Bangkok
    Quite some changes since that time huh! Nice post/thread.

  7. #7
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    Thanks. A five-day period which ended up influencing my life significantly, in many ways.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    I know a few guys here (Chiang Mai) that have been here 20, even 30yrs. Always interesting to hear them talk of the 'old days' and all the changes that they've seen in that time. What are main thorough-fares now used to be dirt roads and cars were a rare sight even.

    Heck, even during my relatively short 8 or 9yrs (I forget now!) there has been plenty!

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat
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    A near virgin Bangkok from the sounds of it, I envy you your memories

  10. #10
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    69 was my first time

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by good2bhappy View Post
    69 was my first time
    That's great.

    And when did you first come to Thailand?

  12. #12
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    After two days, my motley crew was kicked out of the R&R hotel for 'conduct unbecoming'. Hard to imagine what we had to do back in those days to get kicked out of an R&R hotel - as I recall, it had something to do with pitching folks off of balconies into the swimming pool. Ended up staying in a small wooden house on a klong with one of the honeys. Swimming in the klong and drinking beer on the porch watching the water taxis go by...life was good.

  13. #13
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    I knew an American guy called Englebert who flew helicopters during the Vietnam war and he, apart from being a good bloke told us some great stories about Bangkok history and during that late 60's early 70's era.

    Nice thread mate by the way and thanks for sharing!

  14. #14
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    Thought you might like that one AR

  15. #15
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    Thanks. My first attempt at a real thread.

  16. #16
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    The pictures of those fresh faced young Thai girls waiting to be asked for a dance would have been great mate. Sorry you had them destroyed by a jealous female.

    Anyway you have those great memories and we younger brigade can only visualize your experiences.

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loy Toy View Post
    ...we younger brigade can only visualize your experiences.
    Yep, 1968... I was still 6yrs from even being a glimmer in me dads eye.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davis Knowlton View Post
    Thanks. My first attempt at a real thread.

    and a damn good one too....

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davis Knowlton View Post
    Thanks. My first attempt at a real thread.
    Great thread mate, I have a friend living in Koh Samui, he's lived there since leaving the US Army where he was a medic in Vietnam.
    He's recounted to me lots of his memorable experiences that he's had over the years.
    I hope you'll be posting more similar threads befor to long,

    av a green mate

  20. #20
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    Many thanks. Love those greens!

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat Boon Mee's Avatar
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    Very good thread.

    It was probably the Grace Hotel as I believe the Nana wasn't used as a R&R Hotel at that time.

  22. #22
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    Wasn't New Petchburi Road popular in those days? When I got here in 86 I seem to recall one place called "Thai Heaven" still going.

  23. #23
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    It might well have been the Grace. I'm only certain that it was a big, concrete blockhouse of a hotel in that general area.

  24. #24
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    Yep, New Petchburi Road was in the picture back then.

  25. #25
    Member Ningi's Avatar
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    quite a few of us poms about who were north of Ubon from 1963 and had occasion to spend R&R in bangkok, no pattaya at that time even the road through to Utapao was just a cart track, were only 5 or 6 hotels in Bkk at the time, the Mandarin was the newest it opened in 1965-66, the city was peaceful, practically yank free,1964 the yanks took over from the kiwis in Korat and the Haka Bar became The Broken arrow shack a heavenly home away from home for soldiers from many countries and virginal thai ladies,such a great combination, have lots ofblack and whites but dont seem to be able to publishthem

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