Broken Promises

Vietnam War

Photo courtesy of Marine Corps Archives

When I left Vietnam in February 1968, after my 13-month tour of duty, I made two promises to myself:  I would take at least one to two hot showers per day, and I would never wear dirty clothes again.  Showers were few and far between in Vietnam, and when available they were always cold.  Clean clothes were almost non-existent, and even when you had the rare opportunity to clean them the cold water (and often lack of soap) produced dismal results at best.

While traveling these past 3-years I have broken both promises more times than I would care to admit.  Hot water is a scarcity in the hostels we frequent, and you find yourself wearing clothes (including underwear) for much longer periods than you’d wish.  Such is the reality of RTW (Round the World) travel.  The lowlands aren’t too bad, because the sun usually warms up the rooftop water cisterns to some extent—however, the lowlands produce much more heat and humidity and the sweat factor goes up tenfold.  It’s much cooler in the highlands, you don’t sweat much, but the water is absolutely frigid.

When hot water (or tepid rooftop water) is available showers are an everyday to every other day affair.  When cold water is the only option available then 3 to 4-days between showers is the norm.  Laundry is a catch as catch can opportunity, and usually gets done every 1 to 2-weeks depending on availability (once again usually with cold water).

I’m not complaining mind you, just reporting on some of the compromises one must make to follow their RTW travel dreams.  Todo bien (it’s all good).  Let the adventure continue.



 STEVE BIO PIC WEBStephen F. Dennstedt

Reporting from Managua, Nicaragua . . .


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