THE WHITE ROSE

While in Laos and shortly after I located and destroyed
Mimi's 'mechanized dandruff', we received a couple of cases
of brand new green berets.  They were our newly authorized
headgear.  After trying mine on, I stuck that funny looking
thing in my footlocker and left it there.  My
camouflage-colored, Australian-style bush hat was much
better.  That was a real hat and it had only cost me about a
buck-fifty.

We were each allotted three days R&R to Bangkok during our
tour so I put a little extra money aside and went on R&R.
The guys going on R&R had to be processed out at our C Team
in Vientiane.  The C Team Sergeant Major, Curtis Carroll,
informed me that my flight to Bangkok would depart from the
local airfield at 0900 hours the next morning and he highly
recommended that I be on it.  Until then, I was on my own so
I rented a samloy, which is really a ricksha, except the
cabbie doesn’t walk he rides a bike.  They are called by
various names in the orient.  He took me to the hotel that
the Sergeant Major had recommended.

Before I left Luang Prabang [LP], an A Team that was due to
leave Laos was staying with us and their commander asked me,
“If you see our radioman, Bill Bacon, tell him to get his
ass back to LP pronto.  He left for a weekend in Vientiane
three weeks ago and we haven’t heard a peep out of him
since.”

Shortly after I got a room at the hotel, I ran into my next
door neighbor.  He was none other than the infamous Bill
Bacon.  Bill was drunk, naturally, and very glad to see me
because he had ran out of money and everyone that he knew
had just left.  I did my duty and informed him that he was
three weeks AWOL and his Team CO dearly wanted to see his
ass and then he informed me of the most wonderful restaurant
in the whole wide world that he had discovered right there
in Vientiane.  It was called the “White Rose.”  “Well, why
not,” I thought.  “I’m hungry.  First things first.”  We
toasted the White Rose a couple of times and then hailed
down a couple of cabbies.

As I recall, we decided that the cabbies were not moving
fast enough to suit us.  The White Rose really was a great
restaurant and we were in a hurry, at least I was, so we had
the cabbie stop.  Bill and I hopped out and put our cabbies
in the back seat and we pedaled those damn contraptions -
that was our first mistake.  Bill and I got into a race -
that was our second mistake.  Be yee warned, it is very
difficult to negotiate a ninety degree corner with one of
those stupid tricycles.  Mine hit the ditch at the first
intersection; I did a double front flip over the handlebars
and bent the front wheel double in the process.  My cabbie
was about to have a heart attack until I gave him a handful
of Kip and told him I was sorry and jumped into Bill’s cab.
Apparently, I gave him enough to replace the whole
contraption because he just stood there grinning like a
well-fed bear.  Hell, maybe he was going to retire.

We finally arrived at the White Rose.  As I just typed the
words “White Rose,” it brought back a warm feeling after all
of these years, but I can’t remember exactly why.  All I
know is that Bill was right, that was, and still is, the
best damn restaurant in the whole wide world.  It was a
restaurant, bar, dance hall, hotel, steam bath, massage
parlor, and whore house all rolled up into one.  All of the
women who worked there were imported from Bangkok and
Thailand is famous for beautiful women.  To the best of my
memory, the food was great also.

It took us three days to run through my money and I dimly
remember a lovely lass taking us by the arm and escorting
Bill and me outside and bidding us farewell.  When we
finally found our way back to the C Team, I had to face
Sergeant Major Carroll, who was somewhat pissed-off because
I had missed my R&R flight to Bangkok —  three days ago.
Try as I might to explain to him that I didn’t have to go to
Bangkok because it had came to me, it didn’t seem to come
out right.  My head was at least three times as large as the
normal human head and all of his screaming and threats
really hurt.  He yelled, “You will go directly to the
airport and catch the next plane back to LP which will be
leaving in about an hour.  You will never return to
Vientiane again and I don’t care how damn long you are in
Laos.  You will stay in the damn jungle.”  It all seemed a
bit harsh to me, after all I had been sent on R&R and I had
found R&R, so what if there were a few hundred miles
difference between my intended destination and my final
destination?  Oh well, Sergeant Majors tend to be a picky
lot anyway.  There’s just no pleasing them.  Besides my head
really did hurt something fierce.

Bill never let the Sergeant Major see him, he hid outside in
the hall until I came out.  Bill returned with me I think,
but I’m not sure.  Bill was a real chickenshit tour guide,
if I ever saw one, hiding from the sergeant major like that.
Maybe he found another SF enroute to R&R and gave him the
White Rose tour also.  Bill’s expenses were minimal and well
worth the tour and he didn’t eat much.  If it is still
there, I highly recommend the White Rose.  It must be a
tourist favorite —  male tourists, that is.  In fact, all
male chauvinist pigs in the world should unite and fund the
construction of a 100’ marble monument to honor the White
Rose.  Better yet, lets buy the damn place.

Don "Val"  Valentine