This is a continuation of Vietnam ‘Throwback Thursday’ series — click to read from the beginning.
We decided to go to a nightclub called The Playboy Club. When we entered, we saw a lot of sailors and Marines there. Pool table in the back, on the left was a bar that was so long that it had to be the longest in the world! Behind it was a mirror just as long. Bottles of booze and wine lined the wall. In the middle of the club and to the right was a stage with a band that sounded like the real thing. In front of the stage was a dance floor, big enough for about 20 couples. Tables were scattered throughout the establishment.
The place must have been the happening joint in all of Hong Kong. There was standing room only. One of my men saw an old buddy near the back by the pool tables. When we got close we saw a couple of guys arguing and before we knew it they were pushing each other, then fists started flying.
My men were just looking for something like this. All of a sudden we were involved in a full-fledged bar fight, Navy vs. Marines. I tried to get my men out before shore patrol arrived. I was dragging on a couple of them and we all were headed toward the door. “Duck”! I heard someone scream. I saw a chair fly through the room and then crash went the huge mirror. “Let’s get out of here”! I screamed.
We made it out with just a few bloodied lips and swollen knuckles. We were all laughing hard, I was just glad to be out of there. We headed up the street and were about a block away when we heard the sirens arriving at the club. We walked by a tattoo parlor and my men decided to get a tattoo to remember this time in their lives. It was against the rules to get a tattoo, destruction of government property and it wasn’t taken lightly. However the only way a Marine would get in trouble was if the tattoo got infected. My father had a tattoo down the length of his left arm. he got because when he was in the Navy he got a ‘dear john’ from an old girlfriend. I always thought it was cool, but he always told me to never get one as you are stuck with it for life.
I wasn’t going to get one so I just sat there watching my men get ink’d. I was drinking a beer, watching a sailor get the crucifixion tattooed on his chest. It was really amazing and I asked him how long it took to get this far. He told me this was his fourth time in Hong Kong and he gets a little done each time. My men were about done when they started in on me to get a tattoo. It was a prime example of peer pressure, so I agreed to get a small one near the top of my left arm. I didn’t know what to get, so I committed a tattoo sin and got the name of my girlfriend from back in the Philippines.
After a couple more beers at a dive bar, we headed back to ship. I was glad to pull guard duty the next night on ship, which kept me and my men out of trouble.
We had one more liberty day, so we headed back in to Hong Kong to sight see and frequent a few more bars. I ate squid for the first time. It was kind of rubbery and tough, but we just wanted to say that we had tried it.
(make sure to click to page 2 on the bottom right)
I remember going to that same club. We were on the USS America CVA-66. Got my tattoo in Singapore. Hot room and 4 of us all passed out; it was so hot.