Friday, January 6, 2012

Vietnam 3: Cu Chi

An exhibit of  homemade Viet Cong weapons
Tourist explores a hidey hole.
by Pa Rock

One of the things we did on our first full day in Vietnam was to travel a couple of hours out of Saigon to visit the famous North Vietnamese tunnel complex at Cu Chi (pronounced "koochie," or, as our guide Loc said, "Like tickle the baby.")  The tunnel system was used by the Viet Cong to hide from the Americans and to move about undetected.  Today it is a type of learning park dedicated to showing some unique aspects of the Vietnam War.

A tunnel entrance
The entire area had been defoliated by the U.S. forces using agent orange during the war.  Today most of the natural vegetation has grown back.

We saw actual B-52 bomb craters, various booby traps used by the Viet Cong to wound and maim their enemies, displays of how food was prepared in the tunnels, collections of weapons, and lots of other interesting exhibits.  There was also a lot of gunfire for background noise because ammunition was being sold to the tourists so they could try out the various guns of war.

Another interesting exhibit was ladies making and drying rice paper.
Diorama of Viet Cong soldiers relaxing

After the morning at Cu Chi, we had lunch at a local restaurant where we dined on a terrace overlooking a river.  The river had a never ending supply of water lotus plants floating along in its current.  It was really very peaceful.   What a difference four decades can make!

Steps leading into a deep tunnel

Bust of Ho Chi Minh at complex theater

Local artisan making rice paper
Rice paper drying

B-52 bomb crater
Entrance to restaurant
Murphy and Loc on terrace at restaurant

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