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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cu Chi Tunnels

Our second day in Saigon we spent on a tour of the Cu Chi tunnels. These were a series of 250 miles of under ground tunnels built by the vietcong during the war. Absolutely amazing, they had kitchens, wells, traps, air holes, all in these hand dug tunnels. They were also so small. They did this on purpose, of course, because they are much smaller than us. They had a sample hidden entrance set us and I couldn't fit inside, not past my shoulders. A Swiss guy tried it and got in, but the park ranger started yelling at him so he got out. Seems a poisonous snake got into the tunnel the day before and they weren't sure if he had come out yet.

Before the tour they showed us a film about the tunnels and the war in general. They showed the villagers working in the rice fields during the day, then planting mines and traps for the Americans during the course of their field work, "just doing his part for independence." Showed women with AK-47s fighting along side the men. We would start bombing and they would run and hide in the tunnels, setting traps that they made for our patrols. I don't know... it was really hard to stomach being the bad guys.

Near the end they had a wider entrance leading down into the tunnels for tourists. Is was so claustrophobic in there. I had to duck walk with my chest down at my knees and my back still scraped the ceiling, and we only went 20 yards, those guys lived down there for weeks at a time.

At the end of the tour they had a shooting range where you could shoot an AK-47 or M-16. We decided to pass, but the shooting in the background during the tour did add to the experience. When someone was really going at it our guide would hold up his hands and yell, "Don't shoot, I'm not an American." Our guide was also really lame because he spent the night before drinking until 4 am. When we would reach an area he would tell us to just listen to the guy in front of us. We finally yelled at him so he went back and covered a few spots that we had missed and then actually started doing his job.

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