Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Day 1029 – Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Day 1029 – 1st April 2008 +6:00 GMT

Had to get up early as we had booked to go and visit the Cu Chi Tunnels on an organised tour. We were picked up at 8am by a minibus and were driven for about an hour then we stopped at a Handicapped town where all the handicapped people work making crafts. They create pictures using cut up sea shells or eggshells. They then decorate pots and pretty much anything with these complicated designs using hundreds of thousands of bits of eggshell. It quite amazing the detail that goes into each item.
The Handicapped Centre

The Handicapped Centre
We carried on in the minibus which was full of Irish and Canadians until we reached the Cu Chi Tunnels. Now the Cu Chi Tunnels are tunnels that were dug by the Vietnamese to hide from the French and then the Americans from the 1950’s to late 1970’s Over 250km of tunnels were dug and they were at three heights the first being 4m underground the 2nd 6 metres and the 3rd 10 metres. The entrances were only 20cm x 40cm and had wooden covers and then covered over with leaves.
An Entrance To The Cu Chi Tunnels
An Entrance To The Cu Chi Tunnels

Entering The Cu Chi Tunnels
The Cu Chi Tunnels

Me Entering The Cu Chi Tunnels
Over 16000 people live underground many for over 2 years at a time. They built schools, hospitals and meeting rooms etc all underground. Many of the tunnels entrances had traps which mostly involved long metal spikes or sharpened bamboo.
A Trap In The Cu Chi Tunnels

A Trap In The Cu Chi Tunnels

A Door Trap
Hidden Trap
We were given a guided tour of the area and all allowed to drop into one of the tunnels through the tiny holes, then we were shown all the traps which were all very clever and laid all over the jungles. There are several bomb craters and a destroyed American tank onsite.
A Destroyed American Tank
We were then given an opportunity to fire some machine guns, AK47 or M60’s etc but this was extra money so Jill and I did not bother. Now it was time for us to crawl along the tunnels. The tunnels we were allowed to crawl along were widened slightly but still they were only about 50 cm wide and 60cm high. We crawled or scotched along for 100 metres going up and down, mostly in the pitch dark as lights were few and far apart. Doing this kills the muscles in the thighs...
Me In The Cu Chi Tunnels
Jill In The Cu Chi Tunnels

The Cu Chi Tunnels
Cross Section Showing The Cu Chi Tunnels

The Bomb Making Room

One Of The Rooms Which Would Have Been Underground

We lastly watched a video on the area and then we got the minibus back to the hotel. We grabbed some food and then had a nap. We headed out in the evening for some food and then caught a taxi to teh other side of town to pick up Jill’s tailor made dress.


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