Full Denim Jacket

An excited Japanese military buff is rifling through a neat row of U.S. Army field shirts. "From the Vietnam War," he enthuses, wide-eyed over the frayed and faded garments. "All genuine." The market-stall's proprietor, however, is more guarded than giddy. Dabbing his face with a handkerchief, a flustered Mr. Udom isn't keen on strangers asking about his traffic in military surplus. He's delighted to talk prices (700 baht, which is $17, for said field shirts; 1,000 baht for a U.S. Air Force flight suit), but where he gets all the merchandise from, that's strictly confidential.

A young American...

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