Thursday, February 9, 2012

Going underground

After our uncertain start in Saigon we played safe last night and ate near the hotel. It was a cheap and cheerful restaurant full of locals. We were not sure what we ordered but but are fairly satisfied it was neither dog nor frog. (That's North Vietnamese cuisine!)

Unusually for us we decided to book organised tours rather than make our own arrangements. I particularly wanted to see the Cu Chi tunnels. I had bought the book at home which told the story of the Vietnam war in a fairly unbiased way. It included a lot of interviews with both Vietcong and Americans. It was about an hour and a half from Saigon and we had a very good guide who we could more or less understand. We were shown a movie then taken round the site and saw the various traps set for the Americans. We then had the chance to go down one of the tunnels which had been preserved. John passed but foolishly or otherwise I went down. You dropped down a very narrow hatch into total darkness. You didn't have to crawl on hands and knees but walked in a crouched position hunkered down. At one point it dropped a level - I don't quite know how I managed that but I did. Whatever one thinks of the merits of their cause you cannot help but be impressed by the Vietcong's achievement.

   This shows that I really did go in one entrance and out another.
 After all this excitement it was back to the hotel then a quick skirmish round Ben Thanh market. John found this market as hot, airless and claustrophobic as any Cu Chi tunnel. He was rewarded with a visit to the convenience store for more chilled beers.


  1. I'll eat most things but I do like to know what I'm eating although perhaps that's not always sensible. I can recall the stories and pictures of the tunnels so it must have been really thought-provoking to have been down one because it must have been hell down in them - though perhaps slightly less than the napalm hell above them.

  2. The WV was 'mardi' - that brings back memories of a long-ago holiday. Thinking about it that's about the last holiday I've seen much of on video.