I found an interesting piece on the internet about live and times in Burma and the trip with the Chindwin.
This is how it starts.
I found letters that Lambert wrote to his
parents as a teenager while working in Burma.
The letters not only provide a great travel
adventure but a window into Lambert's
personality. They genuinely reflect the man
Lambert would become.
Lambert Vandenberg was a big man whose
presence and hearty good nature filled the room.
He was one of those rare people whose buoyant
self-confidence didn't grate on the less
enthusiastic mortals around him.
One consistent quality was that he truly loved
Lambert worked for 38 years as a
mechanic and foreman for the Standard Oil
Company of California.
Like many middle-class children of his time,
Lambert did not graduate from high school.
got ahead by other means. In his letters, he sang
the praises of his correspondence courses even
finding "square and cube roots interesting."
The fact that Lambert's parents agreed to such a risky
venture—going to Burma—shows how much they trusted
their son to make his own way.
Indeed, he was able at age
17 to pass himself off as a 20-year-old. (Lambert's passport
says he was born in 1895, but his true birth date is 1898.)
His mother Jane signed off that she has known her son for 20
years. (Apparently, lying about one's age at the time was not
Lambert's self-confidence and large
physique for the time (almost 5' 11" and weighing over 200
lb) made the subterfuge doable.
Lambert had a productive and comfortable "give and
take" relationship with his parents. Lambert was sending
money home each month, and his parents were apparently
sending him magazines, letters, pictures, tools, and
Dutch immigrants of the working class expected their
children to contribute to the family economically.
letters reflect this expectation.
While Lambert spent money
on diversions (e.g., a piano), he felt obliged to send money to
more on the Chindwin