Tracing Back History

Saigon, January 4th 2010

I was really upset because our travel agent said that we would be picked up between 7:30 to 7:45 AM. Knowing that I would have to proceed with the check out procedure, I woke up earlier, had breakfast, and was done by 7:15. At approx 8:00 AM I called our travel agent and he said that our bus will come in a few seconds. It turned out that his "few seconds" were more than half an hour. We finally left the hotel at 8:45!!

Had I known, I could have hunted for some photos in the vicinity early in that morning. Oh, how I hate it when people waste my time!

When we got in the bus, the only empty seats left was at the back. To make matters worst, we drove on a super bumpy road which tossed our bodies up and down. It was as bumpy as the road I passed when I went to Ujung Kulon.

On the way to the site of Cu Chi Tunnel, we stopped by at handicraft workshop.
All the craftsmen were disabled.
There were several kinds of art crafts, but this one kind caught my attention most. 
It was egg shell craft. 
They decorate this jar with egg shells break into tiny pieces.

Here we are now in the Cu Chi Tunnel site. First we listened to some history of Vietnam war. The explanation was in English which to my ears sounded like a mix accent between Vietnamese and Texas :)) It was Mr. Binh's student who spoke. Mr. Binh's student's English was slightly better than Mr. Binh's himself. Maybe Mr. Binh's student learnt English in an earlier age

This is the entering tunnel into the "real" tunnel. For a second I thought the whole tunnel would look like this and thus it would be of no fun.
This is Mr. Binh, our tour guide in Cu Chi and also during the previous Can Gio Vam Sat Eco Tour. He said that he had served in the army and kept on telling that it was a terrible moment which he would not like to talk about again. Nevertheless, he kept on talking and talking and talking... endlessly.

After being in numerous local tours in Japan, Vietnam, and Indonesia, I found that each tour guide was unique. Each of them had their own character. Wiwik and I preferred one that doesn't talk too much. But other tourist might think such a tourist guide is arrogant or not friendly.

 I overheard a European tourist said to her partner about Mr. Binh, "Don't you think he is making up?"

 Overall I like Mr. Binh. He was attentive toward Gabe and he bought the entrance tickets of Cu Chi Tunnel for the 4 of us. I see this as his way of saying sorry as I'm often too bold in expressing my disappointment. I let him knew how I was disappointed for being kept waiting for more than half only to get a seat on most back part of the bus. On the way back he also kindly let us drop off at Ben Thanh Market. That's a gentleman, I think.

The Viet Cong's uniform.
... and the Viet Cong's slippers.
Mr. Binh said that the way to distinguish a Viet Cong was by looking at their bare feet. A Viet Cong's feet must have burn marks forming this kind of sandal. The stripes must be the same.
These sandals were made from used tires.

Step on this and you'll drop on pointed arrows just like you fall on a giant durian :))
It never would be Vietnam without hammocks!! :P
A tank machine gun. So scary...
Some tunnel entrances are this narrow that the Americans were too big to get inside.
I don't know whether this tunnel leads to somewhere. I just asked Michelle to photograph me here.
I and Gabe went down into this tunnel. It was really, really narrow -- even for me. But it was a great fun. At first Gabe crawled in front and I followed behind. But he kept on saying that the dark made him scared. So when there was some space, we switched places.

Thanks to the article Michelle sent me. I brought a little flashlight with me. I told Gabe to hold on my waist and just follow me. At one point we could not even squad. We literally had to slide. I told Gabe to imagine this as a slide on a playground. Eventually, he said he had fun.

The bad thing was I forgot to take any picture while we were inside the tunnel. What a stupid thing!

No comments:

Post a Comment