Sailing off


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cu Chi Tunnels - near Ho Chi Mingh City

Cu Chi Tunnels 5th August 2011
The whole Cu Chi experience started with the not so wise choice of a driver who was keen and pleasant and as we found later on could not speak a word of English. We assumed that he knew his way to Cu Chi Tunnels as they are located just over an hours drive from Ho Chi Mingh.. Asumption on our part was totally wrong!
 Ha… Ha… yes we got lost. Not once but several times. On the way there and on the way back and the whole “lost” experience was worth the trip and the extra time it took. Of course we had lots of detours in and within small and very small villages with most interesting sights. We went trough ditches rice fields saw absolutely splendid water buffalos just relaxing in the cool waters in the scorching heat of the day. Our “wonder driver” had to stop and ask for directions in many strange places. We even stopped at a coffin sellers or makers place and were astounded by the size of Vietnamese coffins and the symbology on the coffins. . Try Swastika for major decoration theme for the coffin? One coffin could probably fit easily 3 bodies.
Even after our final arrival and collection 5 entry coupons each (something different we thought we would only need one) we were still taken to the wrong place – non other than the family park so no wonder that we walked and walked and could not find the tunnels.
Finally the experience of going trough tunnels was great. They were built in 3 levels the first being 3 meters and third level 10 meters under ground. We were only allowed to the first level tunnels and few meters at the time
They started to be built in 1948 a to assist the VIET Minh in their fight against the French and formed whole underground cities and homes to over 10 000 people who lived in the tunnels for years
Entering the first tunnel was a little like”oh do we really want to do this?” The tunnel looked small really small dark and it was mainly our curiosity and the people behind us that got us going.
We were in a small group of people and had to move in unison as the tunnels were quite small .No sudden stops slowing down or any unexpected behavior like “stage fright”. We could only move hunched down and even then we were touching the walls with our backs as well as sides. It was completely dark a bit damp and still humid .There was a feeling of being vulnerable. This would not have been a comfortable place with bombs exploding above ground etc. Going trough the tunnels we both asked ourselves questions like – Would we have done this if we had to save our life? Absolutely we would! We both agreed on that.
It is amazing what conditions humans overcome to survive. Courage and will to survive win in so many situations.
We have seen the main sections of tunnels like the living areas command center meeting areas kitchens and field hospitals – these were all comparable size rooms.
One really interesting experience indeed and another great day in Vietnam.

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