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Burma/Thailand

Realizing that they couldn’t exchange their money, they paid for the airfare to Bangkok and then went on different days to exchange small amounts at a time with a lender, only getting half of what it was worth. They hid their U.S. dollars in their underwear because they weren’t allowed to take money out of the country and made it on the plane without being stopped. They flew Burma Airways from Calcutta to Rangoon then on to Bangkok. Bay_of_Bengal_mapOn the plane they were offered free whiskey, but as Dan started to drink it the strict Salvation Army man sitting next to him asked him if he really wanted to drink that poison. Danny didn’t drink any more whiskey on that flight! When they arrived in Rangoon there was a layover of a day. The allowance was five U.S. dollars that didn’t need to be accounted for. So they went into the city and found the local black market, changing five dollars into Burmese money. With their Burmese money they got a hotel, took a sight-seeing tour, had dinner and breakfast, took a taxi back, and then exchanged the Burmese money they had left back into five U.S. dollars! Everything over five dollars had to be accounted for, but since they only had five dollars after the exchange, their passport was stamped and they were good to go. Now that’s the way to do foreign exchange of money!

They only stayed in Bangkok for a day. In 1961 the Americans had a base in Bangkok and were just getting into the Vietnam War, so there was a big military presence there. The next day they went to Singapore by train, a wood burning train! The cars had wooden benches and no air conditioning. After 2 days on the train they stopped at a small town and someone grabbed his foot that was hanging out of the window. Looking up he saw an American guy they had met in Iran! 1000 miles and several months later and there he was, his girlfriend being a nurse in this town. How crazy was that! Danny was covered in mosquito bites and is pretty sure this is where he got malaria, which didn’t manifest itself until he got back home several months later.

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Malaysia

At the Malaysia border they got on a Malaysian train that was modern and had air conditioning, what a relief! In Kuala Lumpur the British were just getting over the Malay insurrection. This was jungle warfare that lasted five or six years where the communists tried to take over the country. The British successfully put them down and Malaysia is a democracy to this day.

Singapore in 1961 was nothing like it is today, at that time it was still British. They stayed there two weeks, and then with only enough money left for one to go on to Australia, Mick decided to stay in Singapore and work to buy his passage to go back to England.

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