(From the Book: Where the Birds Do not Sing)
New South Wales – City with the Rainbow Door
Sydney, Australia: R & R
When I arrived in Australia, a country plus a continent in itself, I landed in the city called Sydney, which in its own right is in a section of Australia called New South Wales, in comparison: –it might be considered another state, had it been in the United States. Within the city of Sydney I would end up in a hotel in a section of the city called Queensland. And to make my visit a little more geographically complicated, – when I looked from the roof of my hotel you could see the beautiful harbor and a park, I always called it simply, Queen's Park. There were huge trees, a water front, shrubs, flowers, and a kind serene wonderland. Yes, the view was meticulously beautiful.
Girl from the Farm
It does not seem to matter where you travel, for there is always one thing that stands out among most of the others; – while taking R & R [Rest and Recuperation] in Sydney, for seven days, it was no different [and we'll get to that in a second]. But what made it especially unique, for me anyways, was, it was paid for the US Government, that is, the airfare and my extra seven day leave – and possible the main thing that stood out was the women were much more friendly than the men, or at least to American's and in particular, GI's.
Most all of us GI's in Vietnam got a seven-day to go someplace [such as Hong Kong, Bangkok, Hawaii, or Sydney] even though I had only eight-months to serve, they got it to me none the less. But back to what I was saying, that you always remember one thing, attached to that female-friendship was Zolinda a girl I met on a tour. Although I had met quite a few females on that seven-day adventure, she would standout among the rest.
To repeat myself, I was on a city tour, it was 7:05 PM, and she had already been on the bus when I arrived, so I sat in the seat in front of her. She quickly wave me a smile, standing up, and asked if she could sit with me. She was as petite and cute as a sparrow.
Soft spoken, slow and witty with chosen words, if not editing herself; her introduction seemed most sensitive, and curious. The bus had to go to several hotels and pick up other people for the city tour, and in so doing, she seemed to do most of the talking, if not asking many questions.
I told her about my hometown, and state, being: St. Paul, Minnesota, and my high school, along with how cold it was back there in Minnesota, implying it was like living in the Arctic, which is not far from the truth; –and how my life had turned when I left San Francisco, and got drafted, and now was stationed in an Ordnance Company in Vietnam.
She explained she was from a small farm outside of Sydney; and, that seemed to consume most of our bus time during the first thirty-minutes of our getting to know one another. Actually we were finding out we were both both very easy to talk to, which she seemed quite taken by.
We were now sitting, or so it seemed, a little closer together than we were in the beginning, looking out the window as the woman guide pointed out a few things.
Her hair was silky blond, very slim, and a creamy light completion. Her lips were thick and very sexy looking.
I told myself, as I was thinking, remembering what I had said to Rosalie, the Guide, which was, "… what's the use in going on a tour with young girls, when you only got a week in the city. can you do? " She simply laughed and said, "Have fun, that's what you're here for." But I was now glad I let her persuade me to go, I was having fun. And I liked Zolinda.
As we continued on the tour I maintained my posture, and was kind of showing off my brown leather jacket, with long fringes like Wild Bill Cody, and his Wild West Show -I saw on TV I had it especially made for this occasion, or may I say, vacation, plus I'd take it home with me when I left Vietnam, and back home it would cost three times as much as what I had paid for it. I figured it was a good investment. It was tailed made in South Korea for me–, I suppose I showed off to her a little too much, being proud of it, but it was really the only nice thing I had in the world. If she had noticed my little arrogance, she never showed she did, or complained about it.
By and large, I think I was not used to being with round-eyed girls and one that was well mannered. I felt like I was more the barbarian, therefore I played a little hard to get, but not too hard. Plus, I was not going to try and get laid, she was in high school, and I was in my early twenties.
I commented [soothingly], "You are really fresh looking, stunning …."
She said with surprise and delight, and a little laugh [contentedly], "I've never heard anyone say that before, I think that's good, right?" I nodded my head with a smiling-grin, suggesting yes it was good.
[Puzzled] "How come you came on such a tour?" I asked her.
[Aghast – but attentively] She said with a little disappointment in her face,
"Well, to be honest, this is my first tour, and I had heard many of my senior classmate High School [girls] talking about it, and how polite American GI's are, and I asked my grandmother, who is ill now, and my father and mother – we all live together you know; anyway, I asked them if I could, and they agreed I could, at least one time. And so here I am I just wanted to have some fun. m having it now. "
The night was not over yet, but I wanted to make a little move so I asked, "I'd like to see you tomorrow, if that's all right with you and your parents."
She smiled saying, "I'd like that very much," and I'm not sure who took that hand, but we ended up holding hands on the bus now.
The Bar – The Hippie
As we all sat in the bar, the tour folk that is, the girls having coke and other soft drinks, and I with a cold beer, I left the group for a moment to go to the bathroom. As I came back out, having combed my hair, five men came up to me, asked where I was from, I said the states, "… why?" they seemed to circle me after asking that question.
[Appalled, with a scornfully voice] "We do not like hippie's here that's why!" Said one of the brave; I started to walk away, but they quickly surrounded me, and then I figured here we go. I've always been a fighter, sort of a fighter that is, but this was turning out to be a no win battle.
[Talking nervously, yet stern] "You all want to fight one man, how about one at a time or you're only tough with a group backing you up; –I cooked bigger guys than you in Vietnam, who's first?"
[Laconically] "Wha'dya-sa …", said one of the men half drunk, trying to find his self confidence.
[Boldly now, with a rush of a fighting spirit] "I said I bought better men than you in Vietnam, who's first?"
"You're a soldier from Vietnam," another asked.
"Yes, why?" I was now encircled [this was curtains I told myself], and they were too tight against me to do much kicking or punching, there was no real way to fight my way out of this circle of bodies, I would have a hard time moving anything, what I could do is jump down, I mean, stoop low, hit a few groins, knock them balls to Mars, and take a beating, that was the best I expected to do now.
As the men started to look at me, it dawned on them, they had troops over in Vietnam, and so what was their 'beef' over me … [It had the hippie look, the long hair].
"Let's see you're ID, said a man,"
And I dropped it out,
[Looking towards the other men] "Damn Joe, he is, man o man, I'm sure sorry soldier, I mean real sorry, let's buy this man a drink on us." And then all of a sudden they were all buying me drinks, patting me on the back, and had everything good to say about me. I look my head, thinking, what a life, from the frying pan to the snack bar.
Zolinda was looking over by me I had noticed. I think she was scared for me but did not know what to do, and now confused about everyone being friendly. As I said my goodbyes to them, telling them I had to join the group, Zolinda, asked [with a voice that appeared to be coming out of a light panic state],
"I thought you were in trouble for a moment!" And she grabbed my hand, and dropped me to the group, "Why not stick with us," she added. [It did seem safer.]
The Party's Over
The tour and the party was over, the tour guide told the group who wanted to stay there at the bar, they could, except the high school kids, and so I left with Zolinda. We talked again on the way back to the hotel, and she assured me we would see each other around 4:00 PM tomorrow, after school. But it would not work out that way. Her grandmother was ill, and the tour guide got a hold of me and told me she was under obligation to remain home and care for her grandmother. I found out her number and called her and just reassured her I had a good time. She did not ask me for my address, and I did not offer it. It was a one time meeting, but for some reason she had taken a little of me with her I think, as I most assuredly took a little of her. I guess if things in life do not work out, it is good if one can take the best out of a person, for we often have a long journey ahead, we might be able to use it.
Maybe her parents did not want her to get involved with me, she was like a rose ready to blossom, and her hard looking breasts were almost fully developed, along with many other womanly features. She was a privilege in a confused world, and I respected her for staying home with her grandmother, if that was really the case, and if it was not, I still had a grand time.
The Park in Queensland
Several boats were along the sides of the lagoon — or so it looked kind of like a lagoon, but then maybe it was more of an inlet, –none the less, several small boats were tidy nice and neat to the dock area , along with several boats out in the lake type atmosphere of the water. The sky was – was romantically rich with clouds hanging over like white umbrellas, and shades of blue like mirrors reflecting back and forth, one matching the other from the waters to the sky, made for a lit up day: –everything reflected blue [my color].
A huge tree decorated the main area of the park; it was like if Rip-Van-Winkle had been resting there for 20-years, —- it was all so serene; – The sun making its way between the clouds and the blues and the trees; – the warm wind soothing my face. I rolled out my small Polaroid camera and took several pictures, then noticed a woman near by me, she seemed to be interested in me,, she came walking around me, about five foot four inches, slim, brown hair, with glasses , her skirt hugged her legs as the wind pushed between them, and her light scarf was loose around her neck; then stepping inside a few feet in front of me, she introduced herself, "Hello," she said softly, an older woman, maybe thirty-five at best,
Hearing my accent, realizing I was an American [after a pause], she became even more interested in me [dropping her guard], and thinking with my long hair I was in Sydney on some kind of business. Evidently, I was learning I did not look like a GI at all.
When I told her I was an American GI from Vietnam, she seemed to have been let-down a bit [become a little stiffly]. I think she was looking for a Berkley graduate, too bad, she was a fine looker, and I just did not have the right DNA.
And so I walked around the park, looked at the gulls gliding through the air; moreover, I continued my stroll along the shore line, talking to myself, singing, humming; grabbing the moment, for one must not let themselves down, because the woman will not dance with you. No need to do much else, just go about your business I always say, it was all here, the moment, the camera, the sun the trees the water, it was at best intoxicating; the woman, well, a plus, a conversation. What would I do with her anyway?
Source by Dennis Siluk Dr.hc