Hello Vietnam

I suffered a war wound today in the Cu Chi Tunnels near Saigon Vietnam Yes, I chipped my big toe nail polish. I need to find a Salon ASAP. I hope my polish survives.

Need to get anywhere?
Need to get anywhere?

So you already know where we went today in Saigon Vietnam. First, I am not being “unpolitically” correct by calling the city Saigon. Everyone here does. I even drank Saigon beer last night. So there we have it. Saigon.

Saigon is a city off 9.5 million people with over 4 million mopeds. Vietnam is a communist country, however it is capitalized. Commercialize is here; world known brand names and sponsors everywhere you look. Residents pay no tax. Yeap. None. A small house outside the city with enough land to grow your own vegetables and have a few chickens is about $250 a month. But, don’t get too excited. No social services. Nothing is free. Citizens pay for health care; no social security; no government to care for you ergo people here are farmers working 14 hours days and save their money. They have too. No choice. The government raises money (in part) by a daily lottery. This is how it works. A set of numbers is drawn every day. The “Special Prize” is about $750,000 US dollars. However, you can only win the prize if you have purchase 10 consecutive tickets. And if you purchased say one ticket and get all the numbers right; so sad for you. You can win smaller prizes with only one ticket. If no one wins the Special Prize the money doesn’t roll over the next day; it goes to the government. Brilliant huh?

Demo on the tunnel
Demo on the tunnel

And then the tunnels. The government is now making money off tourists. Off of war.

The tourist site for the tunnels in more than just a stroll through the tunnels; it’s mostly a above ground adventure. Before tourist get to participant in the interactive experience, you watch a government sponsored video. It’s Anti-American. It’s the government point of view. After the movie without popcorn, its a short walk in the 97 degree weather and a 1000 percent humidity. Yes, we are here at the end of the dry season and it’s warm is saying like sitting in sauna is cold. I digress.

The first experience is seeing the actual tunnel used by soldiers. It’s small. It’s hidden. Its barely big enough for tourist; well, not all tourist. First, a worker demonstrates the hole and get in. And then you get the chance to try and fit a cork in a wine bottle. In our group of about 30 people, I was the only female who tried. I was worried my hips would fit. But I did; barely. And getting out was all upper body. No step to get up. Pure arm strength. At this point I thanked my Piyo instructor and my buddy Peggy for going to workout with me.

After that experience; we saw how the people lived in the tunnels (above ground) and a demonstration of all the different types of traps used. Quite a wide assortment of traps meant to kill. All mean & evil; but it was war. And all I could think about was; this would be great for the Walking Dead TV series as clever ways to kill the “walking dead” AKA Zombies. At this point; maybe I should cut down on my TV viewing time.

Look, I found my way out!
Look, I found my way out!

And then we get to actually go through the tunnel. There are two types of tunnels. One is for the tourist to do the duck walk through. The floor is cement and lighting every few yards. Dan and I managed fine. And then the actual tunnel; the real McCoy. Dan and I, along with one other adult and two middle pre-teenagers were the only ones brave enough, or crazy enough to try. The tunnel didn’t have a cement floor; nor lighting and would you believe I didn’t have a flashlight? It seems I carrying around all sorts of things daily in my backpack but not a flashlight. The tunnel was the size of bread box. No duck walk here but a monkey crawl. The ground uneven and few places for banging your head and hotter than any sauna you’ve been in. In the 100 meters we crawled; I emerged soaking wet with sweat. I thought my sweat had sweat in Cambodia but that was nothing. I think I’ve been dryer in the shower. Or even in the pool during water aerobics.

The government did get a few bucks from us for this experience. And our tour guide a few more. I highly recommend you NEVER come here without a guide. They would be worth the cost because then you’ll know what you are looking at and why, and as a bonus the side of government.

A variety of traps
A variety of traps

And few other things you’ve been wondering I’m sure.

Yes, its hot here. Did I say that yet??? And yes, I had another bowl of noddle soup for breakfast. Maybe soup for lunch too. After all, who doesn’t love eating a hot bowl of soup in 97 degree temperature days outside without air condition??

I sure a few more can fit on the road
I sure a few more can fit on the road
Dan's turn to climb in
Dan’s turn to climb in
Life at camp
Life at camp

2 Comments Add yours

  1. lovetotrav says:

    I am not sure I would do that one tunnel in particular; the bread box one. Something you will definitely remember! Happy travels, sweaty or not, Cheryl


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s