First thing, we went for our free breakfast, I have still not missed a free breakfast (update from previous breakfast post). This one was particularly good, I ordered a pancake (crepe style) with jam and purchased a nana to go along side, as I love nanas, and I feel a breakfast is incomplete without a piece of fruit. I cut up my banana and put it in my pancake and rolled. I also had a tea, the tea is free but 5000 vnd for milk. Cheeky bishes. Needless to say, I did not have milk.
After we broke the fast we got our coach to the chu chi tunnels. These tunnels were complex tunnels that the Vietnamese built during the American war to protect them and a way to get supplies. Although the tunnels stretch through Cambodia and Laos as well, saigon is where the base of the party committee and headquarters were. The tunnels are a system of deeply underground tunnels and have several floors and alleys that branch out like a spider web more than 250 km long, with places for dining, living, meeting and fighting. And yes, I did just copy that down from the leaflet.
We saw one of the covers that the Vietnamese would have used to enter the tunnels, they were amazingly small and made to fit the small Vietnamese and not the large Americans (fatties). We were also shown numerous traps, they looked bloody brutal, each spike trap looked like it was designed in a way that once it got you, you could never get free from it as moving or attempting to get free would cause fatal damage. Another feature I found rather interesting was the tunnel vents, and how they kept them secret from the Americans who were using dogs to trail the Vietnamese scent. The Vietnamese would use things like chilli to mask there scent, or if they had a dead american, they would take all his belongings, such as clothes, cigarettes, hair, everything and put it around the hole, as the dog would be used to the American scent and not track the Vietnamese. They also made shoes which made it look like one foot was walking one way and the other was walking the other eg, the shoe on the right foot would have the back of the shoe at the front of the foot, this made it difficult for the Americans as they could not work out which direction the Vietnamese were going if they found any tracks to follow.
We were asked if we wanted to shoot some big guns, but I decided against it, it would have been fun, but it was ridiculously expensive at around 400,000 vnd.
We then had the opportunity to go through one of the tunnels, they were tiny, we all had to crawl through them.
Once we had finished for the day we were returned to our hostel. From there we got a taxi to the war remnants museum. Just as we were about to drive off two boys ran up to our taxi and asked if they could share it with us. We said yes. So babs got in the front next to the driver, leaving Jamie to fend for himself. He looked panicked about how to get in the back of the taxi since us three girls were in the middle seats. Next thing we know, he has opened the boot and just rolled into the backseats. It was rather amusing. We made our way to the museum.
The museum was very interesting and very sad. Seeing all the pictures of the Vietnamese, families torn apart and murdered in front of each other. Whole villages napalmed and destroyed. The American policy was to assume that anything that moved was viet cong. Seeing the affects of agent orange was brutal. The thing that saddened me most was the way that it somehow gets in your dna, so generations to come will see and feel the affects. Children today are being born with deformities and mental retardation, simply because their ancestors were touched by it. It is in the land they farm, it is in their dna, how do they move on from it? There were still born babies in a tank as well, to show how as a result of agent orange, it prevents life, and life being loved to the full, some of the people born under its effects are so mentally and physically disabled that all they do day in, day out, is lie in the corner of a room in their house. Their parents unable to provide the care that we back home would have care workers to help teach us, guide us, advise us and try relieve some of the strains of looking after someone so disabled.
The museum was definitely biased against the Americans, but it made me think why did they get involved in the first place, especially with such horrendous weapons. Agent orange was labelled the most toxic and poisonous substance known to man.
Upon our return the taxi driver tried to rip us off saying that we would have to pay 200,000 vnd for a return to the hostel. However when we had paid 30,000 vnd to the museum, we knew he was taking the piss. Luckily we found the correct taxi company who does not rip you off just because you are not Vietnamese and also does not have a rigged meter so that it goes up at a ridiculous pace.
Once returned to the hostel we got showered and went for some food down the road. We went to some little place, it wasn't very good. I ordered fresh spring rolls, forgetting they had rice noodles in, I bloody made them at the cookery course so I should have known. Stupid tithead.
Once dinner was over we headed back to the rooftop bar, the view really is spectacular. Then Hayley wanted to go meet some people she met in Chang mai, so katrina and I went along, back to the Vietnamese bar we went to last night. It was a lot quieter tonight though, after an hour and a half Katrina and I decided to go back to the hostel bar, it had a better vibe and more people. I bumped in to Sean and James from nha trang and spoke to them for a little bit, finally got my money back from Sean for the cigarettes I bought him. After a few more chilled beers we said our good he's to the boys in our room and went to bed.