Vietnam and the Cu Chi Tunnels

I have so much to update  everyone on. I am now in Saigon, also called Ho Chi Min City. I am currently typing on my laptop, which is now home to an ant colony that lives just under the keyboard and gets pissed off whenever I type and they try to go for my fingers. I picked them up in my hut on the beach in Cambodia. I don’t know what they eat to survive, possibly the wiring of my computer…

When we left Cambodia, and had an unexpected trip of luxury. Our bus turned out to be a full service bus, with food and drinks and we each got two seats to ourselves. There was a guide who told us what provinces we were going through and other facts of that nature. We switched in Phnom Penh, and had time to grab a pizza on the river.

At the boarder there was an issue with the Iceman’s visa departure card (which he was not given on the border) but a quick bribe to the customs guy and everything was taken care of.

We just got in to our place in Ho Chi Min. (it is $9 a night each!! So expensive) but we have a TV, a fridge, Internet in the room, and hot water in our bathroom… Only for two nights, but it feels good after those shacks for so long.

We went to the Cu Chi Tunnels yesterday via motorbike. Yes. I drove a motorbike in Saigon 50 k out to the tunnels.  They were pretty cool, but we had to watch this film first for about 15 minutes where they called Americans the Evil American Enemy a few times, and imperialistic enemy, and other things like that. Interesting to see their view of the war. We went crawling around in the tunnels for a while after that, just acting like kids crawling around in the dirt. At some points the holes were so small my hands were above my head and I was squeezing through.  Imagine people living in these for months on end. There are 250 kilometers of underground tunnels in the area. Crazy.

We also went to the Reunification Palace, also known as Independence Palace, which was stormed in April of 1975 to end the war. We found that it is a common trait of the guide programs here to show a room in this way: “So here is grand room of conference. Here they met to talk about important matters. The room is green. You know why the room is green? It makes you calm… Here is bedroom. He slept here in bed room when he was tired from the day. You can see the bed there.”

As if I was blind and mentally challenged.  I can see that this is a bedroom, and I made the logical jump to the fact that he probably slept here. However, What “his” name is and what “he” did would have been more interesting to me. At the tunnels it was the same: “Here is room where they ate meals. You can go inside and see the table.” Um… Ok. How many people were here at one time? How many people were killed in this area, how long did people stay underground… but to these questions I got no answer, so I proceeded to convince some of the little kids in the tunnels that we should go farther than we were supposed to, and we ended up down some random trail that led deep off to nowhere and smelled of rotten things, but it was more fun than listening to the guide. We popped up in the bushes about 15 meters behind the guide when we finally made it up, and he didn’t want the Iceman and I exploring anymore because we were ruining his tour since we kept popping up at places he was going to show us next, but we got there underground. As if the three Korean kids cared. They just wanted to craw around like us.

Today we are going to head out of town after seeing the war museum. Not sure where yet though.

February 17, 2008

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