Letter from Anton to Jim and Yoyo from Southeast Asia

Dear M & P

This is just a quick, albeit all too expensive ($12, US, nonetheless!) FAX to let you know that:
A: I'm OK
B: Happy New Year
C: Happy Birthday
D: I'm leaving Saigon tomorrow, the 3rd of January, b/c due to Visa (as in Vietnamese, not Master Card) problems I've had to spend more time than I would have like @ the appropriately named "Chains First Hotel."

I'm sure the Hanoi branch is called the Hilton. Things here are good, I'm not sick (although, I did burn my leg on the exhaust pipe of a friend's moto-bike, but I checked with an English - speaking Doctor here and it's going to be all right) (that was a freaky experience - remind me to tell you about it sometime). Anyway, tomorrow I'm flying Vietnam Airlines to Danang, then on the 5th a 24/hr. train to Hanoi, and on the 7th fly to Bangkok. The only dangers left are:

(1) Flying on one of the infamous Vietnam 124 Tupoleu Russian planes (but I talked to some Italian guy, who said their flight was trouble-free, then again, they don't speak Vietnamese) from HCMinh City to Danang

(2) Finding myself in Danang w/only US $ traveler's cheques - I always seem to need money on Saturday's @ 4:00 p.m., & in US $ cash only, if you please. The Dong is worthless - 10,000/1 $ US, and you get $ changed back as bricks of dong held together with a rubber band. It's kind of neat, but counting the little mothers is a bitch. I'm currently sort of traveling with this nice but hyper-docile Japanese girl who speaks almost no English and, after almost a week, is really starting to bug me. She just interrupted me to help her make an int'l call to Cambodia. I was pretty impressed that she was traveling alone w/o speaking English or anything other than Japanese, but now I think she just sort of flounders around. I honestly don't know where she would be if she hadn't met me - probably still at the counter of the "now we've got you in Chains, capitalist swine" Hotel.

Anyway, I have to go - got to get back to the travel agent to get one more piece of paper so I can leave from Hanoi instead of my entry point, H.C.M. City. The bureaucracy here is a real pain in the ass. I'll repeat that one more time, in case you red idiots don't catch it the first time through the censoring process - The Red Tape Here Sucks! God forbid they really are able to read this. I might be forced to leave from Saigon. So, Happy, Happy Birthday 2 Ewes, Hippo Birdie that is, Mommy, I'd like to get you a tortoise bracelet but:

A) They're endangered
B) They probably wouldn't make it past U.S. customs, and perhaps most important
C) They're absolutely tiny - too bad, b/c some are quite nice. I hope both yours (i.e. - plural you, vous en francais), and my New Years will be even more spectacular, or even just better (it can't get worse, right - remember, it doesn't get any harder than this!).

I'm sure the censors won't catch that little pornographic joke. Take care, I miss you both (& traveling w/ you) and love you each to the zenith.

Your son in commie exile
xoxoxo Anton