Our second day in Coogee Beach, and as I expected, Joel was pissed at me, saying I screwed up his chances with the nurses last night. I really didn't have any sympathy for him, because he is beyond the PCOD, and going to be home in less than two weeks!
But, we agreed to share a cab and go into Sidney, and do some sight seeing. For the life of me, I can't remember what we saw down town; which was like any other down town in the world's biggest cities. But, I was most impressed by the Harbour Bridge, that big beautiful rainbow of a thing that symbolized Sidney for years. And, we got fairly close to the new opera house being constructed. Looks like a bunch of sails on top, and very controversial here in Sidney. Will open sometime in 1969.
That evening I went to a hotel and picked up my Uncle Bill and Aunt Ivy from Yountville, California, who were on a south seas island trip with a bunch of retired geezers from the State of California. It was nice to see some family, but not completely satisfying, if you know what I mean.
We had a couple cocktails at their hotel, and they were amazed that the bar tender when she found out I am a GI, refused to collect for my drinks. In fact, I couldn't pay for a drink the whole time I was in Australia!
And, I was the center of attention with some of their tour mates, so much so that I felt I was on display.
We went out to eat at a Japanese restaurant in town, and had a good time. Aunt Ivy is a bit of a prude (that's why they probably only had one kid!). And, here I was, a 34 year old Army Captain, being lectured about the evils of a certain type girl, if you know what I mean!
Oh! Oh! Let me tell you about Aunt Ivy. Every kid has an Aunt that terrifies him or her when they are little. Yep, that was my Aunt Ivy! Although, I must say, she was the only one who stuck by my Dad and Mom when Mom suffered from leukemia for 14 years before she died in 1971.
But, when I went to Korea, there was a piece in the paper, and in the Time magazine, about approximately 4,000 prostitutes hanging around 8th Army HQ for a few days after pay day. She sent me a copy of both articles, heavily red lined! I never told her about my first day in Korea, when I wanted to go to the PX after evening chow at Camp Red Cloud (I Corps Group), and the lieutenant colonel I was to eventually replace didn't want to take the time, so I said I would walk the two miles back to the Post Engineer Compound in Uijongbu. I was in my TW's, and every step of the way was propositioned by at least 1500 business girls lining the road between Red Cloud and Camp Falling Water, the Post Engineer Compound. They picked at my uniform, spit at me, and even wanted to know if I wanted a little boy instead of them! What an introduction to Korea.
Back to the old fogies on my relatives' trip. When they found out I had been through TET, they treated me like I was a bloody hero, or something. [Which at this time 30 years later is the only time that has ever happened to me]. That is, all except one couple, who told me in very loud voices that I was a killer, and they thought I should stay away from their group!
Anyway, dinner with Uncle Bill and Aunt Ivy, and a couple of their friends, was a good time; and when I found out they had the day off from touring tomorrow, invited them to come out to the hotel around noon, and spend the afternoon with me on the beach.
They did, and I actually enjoyed the afternoon in conversation with them about happenings with family and California.
Before they arrived, Joel and I called Judy, a girl one of our friends in Soc Trang had met when he was in Australia. Dick had asked us to call her to say hello. He and she apparently hit it off, and fell in love in a week. They also pooled their funds, and bought some opals, which Dick was certain he could sell at three times the price, or more, when he returned to the states; which he had a couple of weeks ago.
Anyway, Judy asked if we had seen Sidney, and we said not really, and she offered to meet us at our hotel in two days at lunch time, and take us sight seeing, and then over to her place for tea. So, we figured, what the heck, you can only do so much burning on the beach; and if she were a flop, we would be rid of her by dinnertime, and would have discharged our obligation to Dick.
So, the first three days in Sidney were behind us, and my accomplishments were to piss off my roommate because I screwed up his screwing; and meet some of my family; which you must admit was unusual for horny GIs on the loose on R&R! [I will readily admit to one and all, that during my year in Korea two years previously, and this year in Vietnam, I was straight arrow. Not to brag, nor to condem anyone who chose the other path; just to set the record.]
Ivy didn't drink, and while she went up to my room to change, Uncle Bill and I went to a nearby pub to imbide in some suds. We had two of something dark, and bitter, and some friendly local when he heard our Americanized English, insisted upon paying!
That night, I joined their group at dinner, which pissed off the anti-vietnam war couple, which pleased me no end.
On the cab ride back to my hotel later, the cabbie refused my tip, and apologized for having to charge me the fare on the meter; and gave me his RSL card, and said drop in a certain pub near the hotel for a drink on him. It was a block from the hotel, and he decided to drop be off there, call it a night, and drink with me. Now, I have been known to down as many as a dozen Lowenbrau's in a long afternoon and evening in my earlier days in Germany; but never, never in my whole life, did I consume as much beer as I did that week in Australia. Not that I am complaining, your must understand!