Thailand

Udorn and Ubon RTAFB
(Page 2)

 

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Walking around the air base brought me to two conclusions. First, there was nothing on base except the Bomb Dump and the Airmans' Club. A place to work and a place to drink.

Ubove is the $25,000 bus stop that the Air Force built just outside of the Airmans' Club. While I'm sure it worked just fine. So did the bench that was there originally. And besides, we usually waited inside the club for the bus then staggered out there with our 25-cents for the ride into town and to the bars.

 

Downtown was not much better that on base. Immediately off base you had the bars. A little further up the road you'd find the markets.

Above is a view of the main street. And on the right is a side street. I had a house that I rented down this road. For about $20 a month I got a room. For a couple bucks more I got a maid.

 

Downtown had it's theater. One of the many places I never went. They would show American movies with Thai subtitles. Also a lot of Indian movies as I recall.

As with most SEA communities, the people lived in squaller. They didn't have to keep the snow off of them and their housing showed it.

Very few of the side streets were paved. Most were dirt. And during monsoon season travel was almost impossible.

But the Airmans' club was our little oasis of booze and babes. We had the house band that played almost every night. And on weekends we'd often have special entertainment that was touring the area. The waitresses were a great bunch of broads. They were quick with a smile or a fast retort.

When I was at Nakohn Phanom in February of '69 there was a band that played at the Airmans' Club. The singer was just fantastic. She could sing just about any song and sound exactly like the original artist. When I went up to say 'Hi.' I found out why. None of the people in the band could speak a word of english. they were simply mimicing the sounds from the records. So, of course, they sounded just like the original.

Anyway, when I got to Ubon in late 69 I was amazed to see the same band playing at this club. I went up to say 'Hi,' to the band and was surprised to find that they remembered me from NKP. They could now speak a little english, and I could speak a little Thai. So we got along fairly well. The lead singer (the girl on the left in the picture above) was nicknamed "Froggy" and her little sister (on the right) was just called Baby. The rest of the band consisted of a drummer, a lead guitar player and a base player. The lead guitar player's girlfriend also danced a bit.

Above are a few more shots of the house band on stage.

And below are a bunch of pictures of the bar and waitresses. At the time they were very important to us. Now, looking at these pictures, I dont' really understand why.

Sometimes, if we were lucky, we could take one of the waitresses out. See them outside of the club. That was not usually allowed. They were very clear about the fact that they worked and were not hookers. If anyone saw them with a GI, the usual assumption was that they were either shacking up or that the girl was being paid. Neither impression was what these waitresses wanted.

 

The main cashier for the club became my buddy. We'd hang out together during her breaks. We'd talk about Thailand and the US and the differences. She was the cashier because she was smart. Well educated and trusted with the club's cash. She bought me gifts.

 

 

The local, but out of town, talent was usually pretty good. They were usually better than the USO troupes and the Austrailian bands. The girls above not only looked great but also sounded wonderful. When they sang they lost all of their Thai accent and, like Froggy, sounded exactly like the artist they were mimicing.

 

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