20 August 2013

18/13 July 1944

I pick up the thread of this little quasi-narrative after an absence of six days -- in another port of call, -- Palermo, Sicily. Before coming to that, and for the sake of completeness, it is best to return to Oran, on 7/13/44. After completing the routine duties of the day on that date the Chaplain and I pushed off for the beach. It is indeed unfortunate that my pen is not more gifted, for such days as this are worthy of the best, even in a sketchy narrative such as this. Once again we picked up a taxi at the VULCAN and drove in the open air M.E.K. (Mer el Kairn) taxi up by the old French fort (right out of Beau Geste) via hairpin curves up the sides of the cliffs -- then winding around the periphery with the Mediterranean far below to Ain el Turek, stopping at the Junior Officers’ club. Here we stopped a moment for an American beer, and then down through the patios to a pavilion on the beach (where beer and sandwiches were served), changed into our suits, and forthwith into the water. (Delicious stuff!) Spent most of the afternoon beneath the brine, stopping only for an occasional beer and sandwich and a walk up the beach. The beach is divided into sections -- native, French, Italian (the P.W.’s also serve as life guards) and American. A panorama of nations is ample reward for the walking done. Rode back to the ship in an army truck filled with giggling jeune filles, and so to bed -- rather on the red side.

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