Before I left Hoi AN I visited the ruins of my son- which is an ancient Cham village.Was a really hot day- the first since leaving Laos and the sky was bright blue so I managed to get some photos that show the heat.The ruins were amazing.Lots of square little buildings a different one for everything complete with meditation hall and library.Lovely stone carvings and carved writing.There are lots of different groups of buildings all at different stages of restoration.Some are in better condition than others as the site mwas bombed in the war and much was damaged.The village is right in the jungle so saw lots of lizards and birds and other wildlife.Sounds unremarkable, but really not seen too much wildlife so far in Vietnam as they have literally eaten everything.There is not an animal alive that they would discount from a menu from what I can make out.I only wish I had the nerve to try it all.
I traveled down from Hoi an to Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon as everyo9ne here still calls it.Almost straight away I went to the Cu Chi tunnels.This is where the Viet Cong resistance held out in the war.There was a propaganda video that you had to watch before you could have a good look round.As you would expect this outlined a pretty 1 sided view, but nevertheless it was interesting to have heard.
The Viet Cong dug 250km of tunnels secretly under the jungle and a small village.It only took 12 years. The tunnels are tiny and they used them for hospitals, meeting rooms, kitchens and escape routes.I went down the section of the highest tunnelsand I have to tell you it was one of the scariest experiences of my life. It was only tall enough to crawl through and barely wider than my hips with no light- I couldn't see my hand in front of my face and very little air.It was so hot and claustrophobic.I only went 10 meters or so but that took about 5 mins and that was certainly enough.Big up the Viet Cong and there ability to withstand small spaces.I would not have faired well.
The other exciting thing you could do there was shoot guns.Thinking of Leon, I decided this was an opportunity I couldn't turn down and paid the pricely sum of 8 pounds to have 10 shots on an AK47 and another set on a M30 machine gun.I went for the rifle first, but then I thought, when am I ever going to be able to shoot a machine gun again…? So I went back and had a go.It was both noisy and brilliant.
Back in the city I visited the War Museum and this showed the other bits of the war that were really quite upsetting.I had to leave because I found it all a bit much.I really didn't want to because its so flippin humid and the museum is air conditioned, but I couldn't read any more because I knew it would make me sob.
Soon after I left the museum it started to rain.I thought it would help, but it remains so humid that it makes me think the rain is just the sky sweating on me from a great height.I popped back to the hotel to take a shower and thought I would give you a quick update.I'm now off to find somewhere air-conditioned for a beer.I have a new roommate who has arrived but I am yet to meet her.She's from Canada.Will give you a full write up soon.