October 27, 1961 – Singapore

Raffles Hotel, Singapore, Singapore – Clear, warm

      My day began early so I could finish packing, help Edith get ready and meet our tour group in the lobby.  I only had time for a light breakfast in the dining room before I had to board our bus to go to the airport.  I took a last look at the hotel because I was going to miss staying there.  It had been so very nice.

      At the airport we got our tickets and then joined others in the waiting area till it was time to board our plane which turned out to be the largest one we had been on so far, a Pan American.  Our flight only lasted a couple of hours so we were just served beverages and didn’t get a meal.   

      We arrived in Saigon, Viet Nam at 12:25pm and were taken to the Caravelle Hotel without much of the normal delay getting our luggage at the airport.  The hotel was beautiful, very modern and we were told it had only opened a couple of years before.  Walking into the lobby we noticed an extensive use of Italian marble.  I especially appreciated that it had an air conditioning system that felt wonderful and reduced my discomfort from the humid Saigon climate. 

      After checking in and before we went to our rooms Curt called us together to let us know we wouldn’t be able to enter Cambodia, our next scheduled stop.  It seemed they had just closed the border due to problems.  I for one was glad that we hadn’t already flown into Cambodia if there were problems because who knew if we would get out without there being an issue. 

      The afternoon was ours to do with as we wanted so Edith decided to lie down and I decided to walk around, look at the hotel and then shop with Gertrude.  In looking around I found a good spot on the hotel roof garden which had a view of Saigon, however, to get to the roof Gertrude and I had to climb circular stairs.  I was proud of myself that I was able to do so because it was so very high in the air. 

View of Saigon from Roof of Caraville Hotel

Another View of Saigon from Roof of Caraville Hotel

      I was anxious to see what the stores had to offer.  Gertrude and I went to several shops to see what they had to offer but things seemed to be more expensive than what we’d experienced elsewhere. Though I was disappointed in our shopping results I was pleased to find that the city was very, very clean and orderly with its wide streets.  The Saigon River ran through the city and that made it very green and attractive. 

      When I returned to the hotel I went to check on Edith and to let her know it was time for dinner.  I helped her clean up and I let her know the results of my shopping that afternoon.  When we went to the dining room I wasn’t sure what to expect so I was pleasantly surprised when I found the menu had a nice selection of choices.  Our food turned out to be top notch and what you would expect in a gourmet restaurant.  I guess I was taken aback finding such a great quality meal here but I shouldn’t have been.  The dining room was stunning and modern as well with colors of yellow, orange, green and black, stained glass doors, a fountain and garden patio.  There was a little stage or stand where they played music for those eating their meals.  Although there was a harp present only a musician on a piano entertained us.

      After dinner Edith and I retired for the night.  We played a little Canasta although Edith had trouble handling the cards so we soon gave up and I decided to write a letter to the Fillmore Herald and Patrick before turning in.  I finished the one to the Herald and then started Patrick’s:

 Oct 27, 1961 – Saigon, Viet Nam

Dear Patrick;

     I don’t know if you are saving stamps or not but what do you think of this letter? 

     This is a lovely clean place and I had a lovely dinner – Chicken Havana with bananas and strawberry melba.   I received a nice letter from your mama and one from Penny. 

     Tell Penny I am looking for a birthday gift for her and I hope she has a wonderful birthday. 

     We had to cancel our trip to Cambodia as they closed the border.  However, there is nothing exciting around here.  We flew in here today at 27,000 feet, 5 miles up in one of the largest Pan American planes I’ve seen.  We will fly to Bangkok tomorrow afternoon. 

     Prices are very high in this place, for $1 I got stamps for two letters and this letter and I have 8 cents left over which won’t buy anything.  Love Grandma

      It felt good to have finished my little note to Patrick and I got it ready to be mailed.  By the time I had finished writing Edith had fallen asleep.  She had had to take a pain pill and it made her sleepy.  I took a nice bath, washed my hair and then went to bed too.

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