8. The day started off with a few more shocks

Chinese Army Tent

The day started off with a few more shocks, the first been roll call. First though we needed to get coffee and rusks, in true ‘in the bush’ army style, only two meals were scheduled, one at 11 o’clock and then a supper. The mess consisted of a few tables and chairs under beautiful palm trees; the kitchen was a series of Cookers and fridge’s [gas] under a tarpaulin with wire and sail ‘walls’. The floor was plain sod and the pantry was some selves at the rear, eventually it was a small shipping container that had very little in it, but at this stage there were only about 30 of us at Longa, so little supplies was not so worrying. The other startling thing was in front of the tables and chairs were a top of the range TV and video setup. In time to come we would all watch those ridiculous Vietnam movies and almost die laughing, trying to find ‘look-alikes’ amongst ourselves. It had a roof of sorts made of canvas, rope and wire, to protect it against the rain. Again we were met with unfriendly stares from the other men in the camp, with little or no conversation going on. We actually got issued with a mug! No spoon. The sugar was in a big plate and had hundreds of bees swarming around it. In the deep shade the mossies were still active, but this early in the morning the flies were still sleeping, we would meet them at Brunch. Later a chap arrived that showed us that if we took dead, dried out cacti and made a smoldering fire with it, it would drive both the mosquitoes and the bees away. The flies didn’t give a shit!  After the coffee we moved to the ‘parade ground’ for roll call.

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