The Cu Chi Tunnels
Cu Chi Travel Blog› entry 17 of 23 › view all entries
We've booked a daytrip to the Cu Chi tunnels before we came to Vietnam. A young woman from Asian Trails arrives at our hotel lobby to pick us up, she’s only ten minutes late (we had grown accustomed to Vietnamese lateness and incapability of estimating of the duration of things).
After about an hour on the tour bus, we arrive at Cu Chi, where our guide takes us to a small roofing over of some sort, it looks like a meeting area. Here we can watch an audiovisual presentation about the tunnels.
I’m quite excited, and the images only increase the anticipation.
It’s a bit like getting into that Cessna-plane that flies over the Nazca lines in Peru. I knew I would have to throw in that Cessna, but I got on anyway. There is no way I would miss out on seeing those Nazca lines. I finished vomiting just in time to see the nicest lines, the one that form the hummingbird!
Anyway, the guide first shows us all kinds of booby traps, and some displays with puppets dressed up as Vietcong soldiers. My heart starts pounding the second she shows us a tiny entrance to a tunnel.
For a few seconds that seem to last an hour I can hear myself breathe heavily while I place the lid on top of the entrance. I close my eyes, try to imagine what it must be like to actually crawl into the tiny tunnel that stretches out at my feet, and then quickly remove the lid again. I drag myself out into the open again and try to stand on my shaking knees while acting casual. For a couple of minutes I keep on breathing heavily as if I had just run for a kilometer or so, and my legs seem to be made out of soft clay.
Our next stop are the actual tunnels, and even though I’m still shaky, I follow my husband into to low channel. They are quite dark and you can only move in a crouching manner. Rens is a couple of inches in front of me and as soon as I crouched I automatically grabbed his pants.
I don’t remember ever be as scared as I am while I’m slowly moving in that musty tunnel. I don’t know what it exactly is that I’m so afraid of, but the fact is I’m near hyperventilating and I’m sweating like crazy. After a short while we come across an intersection, we can choose to follow the tunnel for a bit longer, or we can get up. Since my husband has felt me clawing at his back the whole time, he drags me towards the exit.
As soon as I’ve left the tunnel, it’s as if I can breathe again.
I still can’t imagine how those brave men and women not only went through those tunnels on a regular basis, but also lived there. They had a kitchen, bedrooms, meeting rooms and even a hospital in cramped spaces. The sheer idea of this would give me nightmares!
I suppose I’m not cut out for guerilla war…