THE BOX OF CONDOMS By Terry (Ferret) Bryceson, 7 RAR
In 1967, we were going to South Vietnam as a bunch of Reos. We boarded our flight in Sydney and off we went. The first stop was Brisbane to restock the Qantas plane as we had drunk a few. In those days Qantas was not permitted to fly into Saigon. So we had to go to Manila for an 18-hour stopover before getting a Pan Am flight to Saigon.
On our arrival, the eyes of this 19-year-old were opened for the first time to the life of Asians. As we boarded the bus to take us to the hotel, a kid climbed up the side of the bus, stuck his head through the window and wanted to know if I wanted to screw either his mum or his sister. I declined.
When we arrived at the hotel, we were given the normal briefing – always travel in groups and be very careful.
Naturally our first stop was a bar somewhere. Another first – San Miguel.
Later on, we decided to try the local talents. Most of us had just barely enough for an all-nighter, except one very good mate.
Anyway, we couldn’t raise enough to help him out. Then he came up with this great idea. He said that he had a box of condoms back in his room and he would sell them to get some money.
A little later, while trying my best as a 19-year-old and for first time with an Asian girl, there was a knock on my door. In came my mate with condoms in hand, wanting to know if I would buy some off him. I replied no and he left as he could see that I was going alright. He did this at all the rooms. However, when he walked into one with the same business transaction in mind, he stumbled across the Padre doing his thing (with a girl). Apparently he apologised and got out of there.
Well, he couldn’t wait to get back to tell us. So consequently, the following morning at the airport we formed a guard of honour for the Padre and all wished him a safe and happy trip.
As you can see, mate, no names, no pack drills.