Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Vietnam, Cu Chi Tunnel Tour



Our tour of Cu Chi Tunnel continues with a painful reminder of the war and the terrible fate that many suffered here. Simplistic in design, many of Vietnamese tools of war led to the unimaginable painful deaths of their enemies.



017Our first examination of one of these tools is a trap door that leads to a fall onto a bed of precision sharpen bamboo spears about six feet below the surface.








Folding ChairFolding Chair



Next we are shown the well camouflaged ventilation system for the tunnel network. What looks like an ant hill is not an ant hill after all.

Here, the destruction craters of B-52 bombs and shooting trenches still remain after almost 40 years.



SAM_1411Just A Crack In An Ant Hill Or ….




019For me, it is somewhat surreal as I remember scenes from movies and documentary films showing young men fighting and dying probably in the same trenches I am standing mere feet away from.

Indeed, “War Is Hell”.



One interesting thing we are told is that dogs were trained to detect American soldiers presence near the tunnels by the smell of American shampoo.


020Crossing the grounds here, we see other entrances used in the tunnel system, bigger openings for women and children.









028Destroyed And Stripped American Tank



Nearby just the frame of an American tank destroyed in 1970 remains. Making the most of limited resources, the Vietnamese used captured military equipment and unexploded bombs to create additional hardware and weapons for their cause.

Our next stop is what most people come here for but should only do if one can comply with the rules that make the experience possible. The most important rule I think is that one must not have fear of darkness or narrow spaces.

This part of the tunnel has been renovated somewhat for touring purposes and although it is about 200m long there are several exit points.


067Even after earlier completing a non renovated portion of the tunnel system, I find this part of the system more uncomfortable and difficult to navigate.

For me, it requires hunching over and I give up about 30m into it.




I miss my first experience of the tunnel here, crawling on my hands and knees over wet leaves in almost pitch black darkness.




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