Saigon & Cu Chi tunnels
Knowing that we had an early start the next morning, we made our way to the centre of District 1 for a few beers and some food. Having met people from all over the globe, this was the first time in Saigon that we met fellow British people. This was mostly due to the weekendâ€™s football being shown everywhere in the District. After several beers, Aston Villa failing to win, and the worldâ€™s smallest pizzas, we made our way to watch some live music before calling it a night.
The following morning, we were picked up at 8am for the hourâ€™s drive to Cu Chi, the town where the tunnels that bear its name were started. Our guide gave us an interesting description of the history of Vietnam, or rather, its conflicts over the years, which lasted for the entire ride there.
Before entering the reserve, we were alerted to the presence of snakes, spiders, scorpions and land mines. If youâ€™ve read our earlier entry on how we entered Cambodia, youâ€™ll not be surprised to hear that not for the first time this holiday, we were slightly under-prepared for this, wearing shorts, t-shirts and flip flops.
The network of tunnels stretches for 250Km and are infamous for their use in the Vietnam War. The Vietnamese built the tunnels just big enough to allow them to fit through, and being a smaller race than the Americans, the GIs would not be able to follow. To illustrate this point our guide invited some of the smaller people group to get in to one of the entrance holes. It was at this point, I was comically given the nickname Happy Buddha, to illustrating that I (RP) was a good example of someone who wouldnâ€™t fit!
Some short stretches of tunnels have since been enlarged to allow western tourists to fit through, although as the following photos prove, there wasnâ€™t exactly a lot of room! Travelling between 20 & 40 metres, 3 metres underground in a dimly lit, very confined tunnel was one of the less pleasant experiences of the trip, being claustrophobic, disorientating and very hot all at the same time.