Power cuts, Handicap Handicrap & the Cu Chi Tunnels!!!
Aug 29, 2008
|We had a powercut in the middle of the night here which isn't that big a deal, except that the A/C and Fan obviously stopped working so it was a bit of a hot and sweaty one!
Also a couple of Cockroaches come out to play as well which was a bit bummer but we soon nuked them, but still slept with one eye open after that!
So we woke up early all hot and tired for our tour thing today.
After eventually finding the hostel we headed out on an hours drive over to Cu Chi to see the 'famous' tunnels that we're used during the Vietnam war against those pesky Americans!
On the way though we stopped off at a Handicraft (pronounced "Handicrap" in Vietnamese!!!) factory first where handicapped victims of the war (directly and indirectly through recently exploded landmines/bombs etc) made handicraft items.
Some of the stuff was really cool and our guide around it was really nice as well.
Like everywhere these days it seems there is always a bit of a hustle at the end of the tour where they try to sell you stuff but in this case it was a pleasant experience. The girl was really nice and friendly and had a bit of a joke with us, but also ALL of the money went to support the families of those that worked in the factory so that felt quite worth while as well.
It doesn't even compare to the Indian 'Hard Sell and Harrassment' approach!
It was a friendly hustle!
Anyway after this we went on to the Cu Chi Tunnels.
Our guide was quite funny but did have a habit of refering to the Vietnamese people as "we" and the Americans as "You". So for instance he said things like "...and this machine was designed to maim you when you attacked our village....".
I reminded him early on that in fact we weren't American or born when the war occured which luckily he accepted!
It was an amazing place but soooooooooo sureal being here man. It honestly felt like we were on the set of Platoon except that this was REAL. I had to keep reminding myself of this as, like in a museum, everything felt set up so you can see it, but it wasn't - this was actually genuine and was really used as it was during the war!
A prime example of this was the US tank that is sitting there in the middle of the woods. It felt like we had gone paintballing and this was a base rather than the fact that this was ACTUALLY a real tank that had had it's catterpillar tracks blown off by the vietnamese and remained here until this day!!!
We watched a documentary when we got there made by the Vietnamese Guerillas during the war and it was very strange watching something like this from completely the opposite way we have seen all this in films, i.e. from an American perspective.
In this video there were a few individuals praised for being "American Killer Hero's!"'
After this we had a look around some of the 1st level tunnels/rooms (There were 3 levels of tunnels in total) and some fox hole entrances. Yes I only just fitted in some of them!!!
After this we got shown all different traps designed to kill and maim "us"!
It was brilliant the Vietnamese man showing us how they worked even gave us a little commentary. As he was jabbing his stick into trap to set it off he would cry (while laughing!) "Ohh nooo!" or "uh-oh" like it was a slap stick comedy!!! As I have said before sooo surreal man!!
From here we went to the shooting range..........heh heh heh.
Guess what, the guns were really load man!!
I had a go with an M16, an M60, and an AK47 - and just like in the films the AK jammed on me!!!!
It was really amazing (and in truth quite adictive!) shooting these legendary guns....in the Vietnam jungle man!!!!
I know what I want for crimbo now!!!
From here we went down actually into a tunnel and walked/crawled for about 50 yards underground.
Man I don't think they were designed for someone of my, ehem, stature!
I was knackered after 50 yards!
We then tried some authentic Vietnamese Guerilla fud, which was Tapioca dipped in salt & peanuts, and some tea.
It was actually really nice!
The tour finished after this and so we headed home.
A day later it still seems very surreal and it hasn't quite sunk in that we had been where the Vietnam war was ACTUALLY fought.
And I got to shoot some all time classic guns man!!!
An absolutely amazing day.
p.s. Bit of a bummer in the evening though - I think the Tapioca may have disagreed with Em as she had serious stomach cramps all night, along with another power cut and some more cockroaches!!
Lets hope tomorrow starts off better then today finished though eh!!