Early morning decision made to go to the Cu Chi Tunnels.
This 150 square mile complex built originally by the local residents to hide from the French was started in 1948. With the arrival of the American forces in 1965 the complex was adopted by the Viet Kong who reinforced the tunnels and built two further deeper levels.
These deeper tunnels provided protection from the bombs dropped by the B52s. I was wrong about them extending to the Lautian border, it is the Cambodian.
End of history lesson.
What’s great here is the opportunity to be spontaneous, I made the decision to take the tour at 6.00am and by 8.00 I was on the bus. A few Aussies, couple of Swedes, one American and half a dozen Brits. The Saigon Tourist bus was air-conditioned and the tour guide Phuong was extremely knowledgeable and, to give him extra credit, delightfully coherent.
We chugged out of Saigon through the swarming motor scooters and for probably the first ten miles averaged probably 10 MPH. Then we were out in the countryside and I saw my first field since arriving. Not sure what was growing but sure was good to see green again.
The drive is an hour and a half total so we were at the gate by 10.00 am, thankfully before it got too hot.
Comments going forward could be fraught, but, I was there, so here goes. They do say I believe that “The victor gets to write the history” and to be honest this tiny nation, admittedly with outside help, booted the good ol’ United States back home. The introductory movie I have seen critiqued on Trip Advisor as blatant propaganda, hmm, ever seen a movie about how the US won World War Two ? No, it wasn’t propaganda, just a straightforward description of what went on in the District of Cu Chi between 1965 and 1975. I have been fortunate enough, if you can say that, to have visited the sites of the Trench Battles of WW1, the Beaches of Normandy, Colloden, even the site of Valley Forge and frankly, Cu Chi is and deserves to be right there with those monumental memorials.
So, enough pontificating from me and thanks to my Sister for applying the necessary pressure last night when I was vacillating.
On a lighter note: I did go to the Majestic Hotel for tea and inhaled the atmosphere imaging what it must have been like back in the day. The grand old hotel is full of charm and auld worldliness, though how it will cope with the 30 odd storey annexe remains to be seen.
I wonder if this will work:
Tomorrow I am off to the Mekong Delta, more after that.
Thanks for the comments people.