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Taken from The Gorgon, October, 2002

Back to Brisbane

After our tour of duty at Manus's Seeadler Harbor in the Admiralty Islands, we left to return to Australia--Fremantle-bound through Brisbane. Our stay to be short--we decided to make it sweet. With money on hand from the great coffee sales in New York and with contributions from the hands, we wanted to purchase some real 'state-side'' liquids. And so a local cab driver took us to a "provider" who sold us, at a suitable mark up, some genuine stuff--at least the bottles seemed unopened! All of this was intended to guarantee a good evening's entertainment.

We rented a hall, hung a notice at the AWAS's barracks to the effect that 40 US sailors were having a party and dance - refreshments provided, bus service (courtesy the First Lieutenant) by the US Navy. First 40 to add their names to the list got to go. The form filled up in about one hour.

The hall was crowded and the refreshments as effective as we could hope. The AWAS were all good looking, I recall. The music was Miller, Dorsey et al. The mood was mellow. One young lady shocked us by announcing to her dance partner that she was "all knocked up" - until it was explained that this was Aussie slang for being "all tired out".

The low-light of the evening came, however, when several of the invitees remarked that the provided liquids were "OK" but wondered if we had any of the potent "gili-gili" available at prior such events. As alcohol neophytes (right!) it had to be explained to us that "gili-gili" was a concoction of torpedo alcohol, strained through bread and watered quite heavily with grapefruit or some similar juice. (Does anyone know if this is TRUE?) It was a concoction in favor at forward areas with those not able to get the bottled spirits on which we had spent so much money. The ladies had seen too many submariners! True or not, gili-gili or not- the sophistication of these ladies took the bloom from our evening. WE HAD WASTED OUR BOOZE MONEY!

(Was that what we drank, up in the signal locker, to celebrate my birthday some months thereafter? Lopes, Magee, Roche, Buckley- test your memories.)

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