Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Mark and I woke with the same thought: we needed a diversion from this hotel location. So we spent the next hour or so tracking down details on other destinations to visit.
We decided on the beach resort of Nha Trang and made flight and hotel bookings on-line after returning from breakfast. We will head there on Friday, have two nights and return on Sunday.
We then headed to the gym and the pool before our 1.30 pm pick up for our small group tour to the Cu Chi tunnels.
Our tour bus arrived at 1.15 pm and we set off with 7 others: 3 Aussie Defense force girls, a young Swiss guy and a Filipino woman with her two sons (primary school age). It was a 90 min (70 km) drive north out of HCMC to the Cu Chi tunnels and our guide gave us some background information as we travelled along the way.
The tunnels formed the base for the Cu Chi District Party in their effort with anti- American resistance. The tunnels were, amazingly, dug by hand, extended over 200 km and were multi level in some areas. A cross section display reminded me of childhood ant farm projects. The visit, of roughly 2 hours, involved walking along trails through jungle terrain, checking out the tunnels and various war artifacts and discovering how the soldiers lived, cooked and fought within this jungle labyrinth.
The heavens had opened just as we arrived and so the trek was a little wet and also muddy underfoot. The rest of the group actually journeyed through a 40 m section of one of the tunnels. This was only about a meter in height and they had to crouch and shuffle along in the dark and stuffy space. This was definitely not my cup of tea and so I remained above.
Tom and Mark tried their hands with a bit of shooting and had 5 bullets each to use with an M16 rifle. I was much more dangerous though as I took my wallet to the gift shop! I had spied some nice lacquered wood pieces the day before but refrained from purchasing them due to the high cost. There were some more affordable pieces here though and so I bought a set of 4 wood panels with mother of pearl inlay. Mark assures me I have been duped though and have bought expensive plastic fakes. I think I also heard him mumbling about ‘weight’ but I switched off. He is so predictable.
We finally left the tunnels by about 5pm and began the 90 min journey back to HCMC. Most of us were tired but the rifle shooting had got the girls going and they chattered happily about various guns, gun specifications and work incidents for much of the trip home.