Tuesday or Monday night. Arose at 11:00 p.m. and took off at 12:45 a.m. for Natal. Weather rough and had to fly on instruments for periods as long as 45 minutes.
The trip was a true test of our training and our ship. It is a 2,000 mile jaunt. Due to headwinds, we took 14 1/2 hours, and I mean that is hard sitting _ never thought 200 miles an hour could be so unbearably slow. On arriving here at Pensir Field we, of course, wandered to town of Natal (Brazil, of course) some 16 miles away. It is supposed to be a typical South American town (45,000 population) and if it is, give me the States for good" Everything was closed up tight, except the red light district which (though) surprisingly was of no interest to any of us.
We have a good place to stay, but here was our first encounter with a different mode of life. We sleep on straw mattress and they are tough sledding after Simmons and Co.'s best. Caught up on sleep and am wasting the afternoon (May 28).
There are many Brazilian soldiers here, and if this is a sample of their Army, we haven't much in the way of physical support - they are a filthy, ragged lot; use German rifles and much other German' equipment. Their mess tent is a slimy sight; we wouldn't feed hogs the stuff they eat regularly. Gave them a few American cigarettes and they'd have done anything for US. Rode one of their mules for amusement. Most of the soldiers sleep in the open, though there is a camp not far away. They wash their clothes in the horse trough and are a messy crew at best. Hear that there are 25.000 Argentine soldiers on the border ready to march in and join the Axis. We could take everything here with a squadron of light bombers or attack planes.
There are many Germans here and even though we knew of one spy last night, we could do nothing about it. Seems funny and very futile to tool ourselves into fighting for some of these natives - if it weren't directly for the States, there would be no percentage at all in helping Brazil _ for they apparently don't appreciate it.
The natives are rather small; and Portugese is the native tongue, all of which makes conversation difficult. This air field was set up by the Italians and remained in their hands until some time in December or February, until this time the German Condor line operated from here.
Now the same line is operated by the Brazilians. There was a German operated radio station here for some time; now it has been taken over also.