Our first stop off in Vietnam was Ho Chi Minh city or Saigon, depending on who you're talking to . One of the main things we wanted to do while there was visit the Cu Chi tunnels. These tunnels became legendary during the 1960's for it's role in facilitating Viet Cong control of a large rural area only 30 kilometers from Saigon. Some tunnels even stretched from Saigon to the Cambodia border, pretty impressive considering thats about 200kms. Our guide Tom gave us the history of the role the tunnels had during the war and also threw in that he didn't like Americans, Australians, and Canadians! His dislike for the Canadians had nothing to do with the war but more so that his girlfriend left him for a Canadian and ended up marrying him! I know we shouldn't laugh but it was hard to keep a straight face, especially when he nearly broke down telling us about the wedding but he did cheer after telling us that she had a younger sister! When we got to the tunnel we were taken through the wood where Tom showed us the hidden traps,Gareth decided to test one out, not a whole pile of room to move about and when he started crying like a baby we decided to let him out of it.
.We also got to see the underground dug-outs used for cooking/booby trap makers/hand-made weapons etc.
Tom gave us some demonstrations of the booby traps and hand made weapons, which were very inventive, (note to self: never underestimate the Vietnamese). The highlight of the trip was getting to crawl through a tunnel-granted it was a re-constructed tunnel made wider for us fat westerners and with us two piling on the pounds it was still tight enough! Even with it widened we still had to crawl our way through it, it was dark enough with only a few lights along the stuffy tunnel so by the end of it we were glad to get out into the fresh air. Definitely not fun if you're any way claustrophobic.
We also visited the war memorial Museum in the city, here there are gallery's that detailed the killing of civilians, spreading of agent orange, torturing of prisoners, and the effects of the war on the north. Outside there were planes, tanks, bombs, and helicopters on display. Some of the accounts were very graphic and hard to stomach and after a few hours wondering around we left feeling like we had after visiting the killing fields in Cambodia.
. Saigon was abit of a crazy place, crossing the road is hard enough, seeing as we're used to the green man. A good town to head out for a few drinks but not ones to out stay our welcome we decided we had enough of the city and headed for the small coastal town of Mui Ne..