FRIDAY 12TH JANUARY 2007/ SATURDAY 13TH JANUARY 2007
Fri pretty much a day of travel. Sat got more exciting. Proboably the best day so far. Went to the Cu Chi tunnels (used during the Vietnam war). On the way we stopped at a handicapped handicrafts shop which Gaz labelled a con 'cause he only saw 1handicapped peron working! Then came the tunnels which in their day stratched straight from Saigon to the Cambodian border. Gaz squeezed through one of the original tunnel entrances which was absolutely tiny - hard to imagine how the Viet Cong did it in silence &so quickly whilst under pressure! Saw loads of the traps used by the Viet Cong which were really impressive especially as a lot of em were hand made from bamboo and wood etc. We then went to the firing range which was an experience. We both fired a magazine of an AK-47 each. Was unimaginably loud & the kick back was a lot stronger than i had imagined it would be. Gaz was in his element - he was like a boy with a toy. I stood in a massive bomb crater made by the American B52 bomb - r.surreal. We then walked through the tunnels which were stifling hot and ridiculously cramped (despite having been enlarged for tourists). You could go 15, 30 or 90m - we opted for 15 before claustrophobia really set in but on surfacing learnt we'd come up before that mark through the emergency exit - we wouldn't have made very good soildiers! :) Found out loads of cool stuff about the tricks and techniques they used such as chanelling smoke away from the kitchen to fool enemies and wearing flip flops made from tyres with the tread mark positioned in the opposite directionm to which one was moving. Was an awesome day - really wou8ld advise people to go should you ever be in Saigon. After the tunnels we went to the war remnants museum. It was pretty horrific - showed all the atrocities of the US - some were really brutal & gruesome such as the effects of Agent Orange (a chemical used) - caused miscarriages & deformities in offspring beyond belief. Particularly horrifying were the baby corpses in science jars that had been deformed through the use of agent orange. Was almost sick at the sight of them. There were also photos of dismembered bodies tortured people and dead soldiers. It was all a bit disturbing but it definately achieved its aim of portraying the inhumanitarian acts made byt the US during the war. Went to watch Rocky 6 at night - not impressed but finished the day on a good note watchin united beat Villa.
SUNDAY 14TH JANUARY 2007
Started a 2-day trip on the mekong delta. Went first to Mytho to a coconut-candy workshop to see how it was made. They cut inside of coconut out, grind it down till the milk can be squeezed out then heated it and added sugar stirring continulously for over 1/2 hour then let it cool before it was kneaded and cut then individually wrapped at unimaginable speeds. Then went tot a honeybee farm with snakes also. Stopped for lunch where a rich Belgian dude called Pete bought us all elephant fish and durien fruit to try. The fish was lush but the fruit smelt like faeces and gaz says it didn't taste too much better (the smell was enough to put me off).Then went to an orchid garden where we tried all different kinds off exotic fruits. The newer ones we tried were milk fruit which was lovely, lychees which gaz loved - i didn't, & pink dragonfruit which was a bit bland but i liked it. Then stopped at a bonsai garden where there were caged monkeys - us & 2 Oz guys we were with learned the human qualities of the minkey when it began drinking tea out of a mug! Hilarious! We then got a ferry across to Can Tho which was a nightmare - people on motorbikes use the same paying desks as pedestrians rather than goin where the cars go. Was quite dangerous looking back.Got a small boat in the pitch black to our home for the night. We opted for a homestay and stayed with a little old Vietnamese couple and their nephew. Only the nephew spoke English -& even that was broken. The aunt was hilarious - she just kept feeding and feeding us. I refused the tofu & meat as politely as i knew how but obviously she didn't understand and kept piling it on my plate. I kept fishing it to Gaz when she turned her back but i think she just interpreted the disappearance as my enjoyment and kept filling the bowl! She must have repeated the process at least 5times. Stayed up chilling with 3aussie lads we'd palled up with before being bullied to bed by the nephew 'cause we had an early start.
MONDAY 15TH JANUARY 2007
Went to Can Tho's famous floating market which after the initial 10minutes got a bit boring and after 2 and a half hours was positively dull Im sorry to say.Went to a temple to see how they made incense sticks which wasn't too exciting either. This second day of the trip was an utter letdown - Gaz made us have KFC to redeem the day! We then got the night bus to Mui Ne