. Pit stop done and it wasn't too long before we arrived at the tunnels, where approximately 2000 tourists come a day. We were taken to watch a propaganda movie that was made in 1967 that pretty much bashed America and its Allies for 20 min. It was rather interesting and before we knew it we were looking at an original section of the tunnels. The Cu Chi tunnels, for the most part, have been enlarged to allow tourists the opportunity to get underground. The original section is about 80cm wide and tall and a couple of the kiwis on our trip had a crack but the majority just got in the hole and had photos taken. As you will see in the photos Maureen jumped in and had a photo taken. The tour guide called me Big Buddha as there was no way I was going to fit down there! From there, we walked through the area and were showed some of the weapons, trench’s and booby traps made out of bamboo that were used. Some of these were deadly and am guessing would of made a hell of a mess to unsuspecting soldiers. Next up was a range where you can fire weapons used during the war such as AK-47s, M16s and M30s. Unfortunately a few years ago a Korean man committed suicide with one of these weapons on the range so the weapons are in a metal frame so all you do is put the magazine on, point and shoot. Needless to say we thought we would give it a miss as it didn’t hold much appeal. Next up was a go in the tunnels. These tunnels have been enlarged for for tourists, about 120cm x 120cm and run about 150 metres long and takes you down the 3 levels. There is no way I could do the proper tunnels as I was on my hands and knees in the bigger ones and had my job cut out moving for 150 meters. With that complete we had a quick feed before back on the bus and back to HCMC.
We got dropped off at the War Remnants Museum as we had read and heard a fair bit about it
. It was opened in Sep 1975 and was used to document the war crimes by the American soldiers during the war and it holds remnants such as tanks, helo’s and planes. I must admit this was my less favorite outing of the day because, although it had some really good photos taken from journalists during the war, it was very one sided and if you didn’t know much history, you could easily be misled. Each to their own and there are some interesting photos to see and stories to be read. Once done in the museum we jumped in a taxi to take us back to the hostel, which unfortunately was our undoing after a great day. He took us the longest way he could find and his meter was the quickest I have seen in my life. As we passed the markets, Maureen saw the meter read 57,000 dong (just under three dollars). A block later, it was up at 192,000 dong (nearly ten bucks) and at the end of the trip, he wanted 250, 000 ($15). When we were dropped off at the museum, our tour guide told us about $4 would be the going rate for at taxi back to the hostel. Needless to say, we were really pissed off. After a massive argument I told him to take us to a police station in which he agreed. After thinking for a second I decided this would not be the smartest move as everybody we spoke to prior to the trip said stay away from the police. I end up giving him about $5 and after much shouting ensued and another $2, he unlocked the doors and let us out. We called him all sorts of names as we go out of the cab and made an exit before we got in trouble. The rest of the evening was relaxing and an awesome dinner of broken rice and marinated pork at a restaurant the hostel recommended to us around the corner before heading to bed.
We had a quick breaky before heading out on our half-day tour to the Cu Chi tunnels. The Cu Chi tunnels are approx. 250km in length and was a VC stronghold during the war and were able to house many thousands of VCs on 3 different levels. The tunnels housed living areas, kitchens, weapons factories as well as communication areas and headquarters. The whole area was barricaded with artillery and carpet-bombed however with the use of the tunnels there was no success. It was about a 1.5 hr trip out which was broken in half with a stop at a factory in which the government has set up for handicap workers to make souvenirs. This was set up due to the amount of handicapped people around after the war and it is believed the majority is due to Agent Orange. The money raised goes towards the pay the workers receive which is about 100 US a month for the people in the attendants in the store and about 200 a month for the workers who make all of the souvenirs. This money is not enough to pay all the workers and each worker in Vietnam is required to donate a months wage to the government to cover this