We decided to give Phnom Pen a miss as the King had died recently and it seemed like the whole of Cambodia was travelling to his funeral on the 1st and it was chocka. instead, we decided to head for Ho Chi Minh City, we arrived at half past two and when we left the airport all seemed quiet, but that was a false sense of security because within minutes, cars and mopeds were zipping all over the place! We found a decent hotel, got sorted and then after a quick wander round we went out for drinkies and a meal. The drinks were cheap and the meal was fantastic so all was well. We have booked the Cu Chi tunnels for the morning followed by some museums and more sight seeing. So far HCMC wins the title for best people watching place, it’s so hectic and so full of life! Up at seven for the one and a half hour bus ride to the Cu Chi tunnels, couldn’t hear what the guide was saying into his n microphone because of ten gob by Italians gabbling away! Asked them nicely to shut up then was a lot better! The tunnels were amazing and did not realise that a tunnel network was already in place eight years before the Americans invaded but then the Vietnam Cong extended and improved them once the Americans arrived. Some of the traps that they set for the American GI’s were horrendous! They had actually made 300 metres of new tunnels just for the larger built western tourists (Fat Panners) they had electric lighting and were pretty straight compared to the originals but all the same, as I crawled through I could feel a sense of panic just niggling at me. About half way down I nipped into a side tunnel that had daylight showing and had a quick breather and waited a sec for some people to get a bit further ahead and give me a bit of space. Was glad to get back out and it gave you a very small insight into how it could have been for these Cu Chi fighters having to actually live down there for years!! In fact, forget that, I still can’t imagine how they did it, living with bombs, rats, snakes, little air, very little water and all the time attacking and being attacked by the Americans!On the way back on the coach we got dropped off at the museum that documented the Vietnam war. not going into much detail here but even though it was definitely propaganda and extremely anti American it also documented actual pictures and newsreels from that time. The pictures of the atrocities could not have been faked as the expression on some of the faces of both victims (wether soldier or civilian) and American GI’s told of a deeply shameful period of American history and portrayed the horrendous time that Vietnam went through. Me and Al did not look at all the photos portraying the death and suffering of men, women and children but what we did see was extremely upsetting and we both decided not to go into the section which documented the use of ‘Agent Orange’ and all the millions of Vietnamese that were and still are effected by its use. just before leaving the museum, the last section showed areas that had been destroyed during the war and next to it it showed the same place as it is now. It was good to see how resilient the Vietnamese people are and how they have come through a very turbulent history. Well, I think I have said enough considering that I wasn’t intending to write too much about it, some people were taking loads of pictures but somehow it didn’t feel right. After a bit of a chill and a shower back at the hotel we had another good walk around this oh so busy hectic place before settling down for a few drinks outside this bar we have found and just watched the world go by. we now have one more morning to have a wander before we leave for Hanoi and Halong Bay.
Had a relaxing morning and had a potter about before getting picked up for the airport, was sorry to leave Ho Chi Min City as there is so much more to this place than we could possibly see in a few days.
Got to the airport, two hours plus delay…..shit!
Logging off now no t’nternet x