The Tunnels

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog

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Carol being measured

All April fools opportunities were missed this morning as none of us had a clue what day it was!  We got up early for breakfast before going to the Ben Thanh Market.  The market, like all Asian markets, was fascinating, with all sorts of interesting fruit and veg, clothes and trinkets for sale.  It was a hive of activity, something which has been lost back home, due to the rise of the all-dominating supermarket.

Carol and Nicola found a good tailor's shop, and got themselves measured up for an 'ao dai' each.  Many Vietnamese women wear these, looking extremely graceful as they perch on their motorbikes.  Back to the market where we finished off our shopping and then headed back to the hotel.

After quickly dropping off our purchases we then got into a car and went to see the Cu Chi tunnels.

Waiting in the forest to go and see the tunnels
  Cu Chi is a district roughly 50km north of Saigon, where the Vietcong established a network of tunnels 250 miles long.  We were shown a short film detailing the history of the tunnels and then marched along by an energetic guide through tunnels opening up into field hospitals, dining rooms, military meeting rooms, kitchens and weapon making areas.  During the war the tunnels reached right to the edge of the American base, and proved to be extremely effective in helping the VC to wage a sucessful guerilla war.  What came across most significantly was the extraordinary courage, tenacity and resourcefulness in defeating an enemy with such awesome firepower.  Everything they could use they did, including cutting up old tyres to make footwear.
Emma entering one of the tunnels
  The Americans tried every which way to dismantle the tunnel system, without success.

Before returning to Saigon, Diane and Nicola took the opportunity to fire an AK47 gun sharing 5 bullets between them.  Hearing and feeling the immense power of the gun reinforced the horrors we had just learned about.  It was good to get the experience to fire a gun but not one they would wish to repeat.  It was scary.

After a hard day of sightseeing it was back to the hotel for a beer, a snack and some rest.  We went for a drink at a nearby bar before finding a vegetarian restaurant (that also had meat dishes!).  The best on the menu was 'vegetarian seafood' - we are not sure the Vietnamese have fully grasped the concept yet!  Despite this the food was very good and we ate a feast, all washed down with giant bottles of tiger beer.  At just less than 5 pounds for all of us it was a bargain!

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Carol being measured
Carol being measured
Waiting in the forest to go and se…
Waiting in the forest to go and s…
Emma entering one of the tunnels
Emma entering one of the tunnels
A particularly gruesome looking tr…
A particularly gruesome looking t…
Snake wine
Snake wine
Having a drink after a hot day in …
Having a drink after a hot day in…