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Return to Vietnam

A veteran, his daughter, their journey

Culture shock: it doesn’t lose suction

November
15

My father was born in a poor Greek village during World War II, then grew up during the Greek Civil War. He had lived in the United States for less than half his life when he first arrived in Vietnam in 1967. So, while other American soldiers had to get used to the utterly foreign living conditions, my father always says he felt right at home. “No running water? No flushing toilets? No problem!”

Well, walking along the riverfront in Can Tho a few days ago, we saw a sick old man lying on the sidewalk getting about a dozen heated glasses stuck to his back and yanked off, leaving behind red, swollen marks.

suction.jpg

The rest of us were fairly aghast at this nonchalant medical procedure, but once again, my father chuckled and shared his own fond memories of cupping treatments: “My mother used to do the same thing to me whenever I was coming down with a cold. But she would only use three or four special thick-rimmed cups she bought from the drug store or borrowed from the neighbors. After about half an hour, the suction cup treatment was over and we would get rubbed down with alcohol and wrapped up in blankets to sweat out the cold. It worked! Sometimes, they would also take a razor and make small cuts on your back, and then put a suction cup over the cuts to get some of the ‘bad blood’ out.”

Click here to see a video of the cupping procedure in Can Tho.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2007 at 12:05 am by Nicole Neroulias. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: Vietnam veterans, Vietnam veterans

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2 Responses to “Culture shock: it doesn’t lose suction”

  1. Return to Vietnam » Blog Archive » Vietnam veterans say ‘Never Again’ to troops returning from Iraq, Aghanistan

    [...] some weren’t. Some had never been on a plane or outside the country before; my father was an immigrant from a war-torn country. Some shared funny stories, like my father’s rabbit breeding program and USO show memories, [...]

  2. Return to Vietnam » Blog Archive » A mother’s heartache, a son’s return

    [...] a tough old bird. She survived several wars, was widowed twice and worked many blue-collar jobs in rural Greek villages, then in New York City, to support my father and three other children before she could finally [...]

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About this blog
"Return to Vietnam" chronicles the journey of Col. Andonios Neroulias USA (Ret.) of Briarcliff Manor, NY, joined by his daughter, staff writer Nicole Neroulias, to the country he fought in 40 years ago. They are traveling with Vietnam veterans and Rotarians from Rockland County and other parts of the country. Check this blog for daily posts, photos, recordings and slideshows about their experiences.
About the authors
Nicole and Andonios Neroulias

Nicole Neroulias grew up in Briarcliff Manor, NY, and graduated from Cornell University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has covered religion and city news in Cyprus, Connecticut and California, where she earned several fellowships and prizes, including a national Religion Newswriters Association award. She joined The Journal News in early 2007 and also teaches journalism at Columbia.

Col. Andonios Neroulias emigrated from Greece in 1956 and was commissioned an officer through the ROTC program of the City College of NY. From 1967-68, he served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry (Tropic Lightning) Division, whose main base was in Cu Chi, known for its intricate Viet Cong tunnels. Among his military awards are the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He is retired from the U.S. Army Reserve and lives in Briarcliff Manor, NY.
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