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Adventure in Alexandria

"Alexandria far surpasses anything that London can offer - in quantity, that is, not quality. There is a certain street called, I believe, "Sisters Street", a most appropriate appelation! It is possible to meander the length of this street and from every doorway a soft voice will call while from the dark recesses an attractive odour of perfume mixed with garlic will beckon the uninitiated to enter and quaff deep of the cup of Life. And, if he be so gullible as to enter, the victim will be led to a small, probably dimly-lit, room wherein the most prominent object will be a bed - cosy, inviting and well-used. Although our poor sucker may be absolutely determined not to pay more than the nominal price, it's ten to one that the next morning, when he finds himself, tired and dishevelled, wandering the native quarter of the waterfront, he will also discover that the nominal price has been paid and that the "accessories" have disposed of the rest of his cash.

All this I found out one hectic night while on leave in Sidi Bishr. However, darling, please don't get me wrong, I-er-didn't "quaff deep from the cup of life". Nevertheless, I still lost my dough; although I didn't come into particularly close contact with the young (?) lady who offered her services. She was, apparently, a past-mistress at the ancient craft of abstracting the wallet from the pocket of one's companion. On discovering my financial catastrophy, I decided to bale out - that was around midnight - the other bod with me, however, got into an argument with a messy specimen of humanity - self-syled "a guide". Things became heated and I had to stay and give my friend a hand. We finally beat it up some dark alley, and at three o'clock were still looking for a way into the civilized quarter of Alex. It was not until six that we managed to extricate ourselves and return to the leave camp, sadder and wiser. It had been an entertaining evening, but neither of us thought about a repeat performance."

11th November 1946, letter from Des Le Pard to his girlfriend, Barbs.

Source: Courtesy of Geoff Le Pard, Des's son.