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The adventure begins in early
2004 with arrival in Ho Chi Minh City (Old Saigon) and checking into the Omni
Saigon Hotel (Photo 1). Part
of the hotel used to be an officer's quarters near the airport. The trip out to
the border area begins by winding through Ho Chi Minh City. The traffic is
insane and motorbike is the preferred method of transportation for most of the 7
million city residents. Traffic signals are merely suggestions (Photos
2 & Photo
We get going again and make it into beautiful downtown An Loc (Photo 9). We begin asking everyone where the old Quan Loi Airstrip might be. Finally, a local who had worked at the airfield pointed the way - it was 10 in the morning and he was really drunk (Photo 10). Perhaps we picked the wrong guys for our allies.
We climb a ridge line and wind through a rubber plantation (Photos 11 & Photo 12). Finally at the top of the ridge - all firebases were on hilltops, could be we learned from that Dien Bien Phu thing - we came up a LARGE CLEARING. Another BIG spot with crumbling asphalt and red dirt. Since I only spent about 2 days during my tour in Quan Loi, I didn't realize how big the airstrip had been. Guys, there is nothing left (Photos 13 & Photo 14).
Our long suffering engineer, Scott
Bennett, who always accompanies me on these excursions shot some of these photos
including the "red dirt panorama". We walked down numerous side roads trying to
find the swimming pool or anything (Photo
15), but there is no evidence we were ever there except for the crumbling
asphalt. I did, however, scare the daylights out of some kids riding bikes down
one of the roads radiating off from the airstrip.
I can imagine what they thought when this giant western white guy came walking
out of the brush with a camera.
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|Photo 5||Photo 6|
|Photo 7||Photo 8|
|Photo 9||Photo 10|
|Photo 11||Photo 12|
|Photo 13||Photo 14|
|Photo 14||Quan Loi 1970|
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