Continued from Saigon Day 2.
We had to get up early this morning because we had signed up to go on a bus tour of Cu Chi tunnels. These were the tunnels that the Viet Cong used during Vietnam War. It was only $11 or so for the bus ride and the entrance fee into the tunnels. It’s about an hour and a half drive away from Saigon, ugh.
Ugh. This wasn’t on the itinerary, but we stopped by one of these stupid gift shops so we could “shop”. I hate tours that do this. And of course, they stop at one of these places with art that’s supposed to be made by handicapped people…So, Westerners are all up in arms about exploiting elephants, how about this??
The workshop that we all had to walk through. I’d say most were fully able bodied people. Plus, I am pretty sure the artwork is mostly made in a factory somewhere far from here. In fact, we saw a TinTin paintings just like the ones we got yesterday inside Saigon!! Except here, they were $28 each, and in Saigon, we got ours for less than $6 each. I guess the only good thing that came out of this visit was that we were happy we paid so much less than what we could have paid for the TinTin art work.
While back on the bus, RL got into a cold war with the girl in the seat in front of us over the blinds. The girl in front, instead of extending the front half of the blind fully, kept on pulling the whole rear part of the blind forward, therefore exposing RL to the sun. I was more upset over this than the taxi incident actually. So, I put this girl in a headlock while RL slapped her around…or at least I would have wished to.
While on the bus, they showed us a propaganda video(also shown at the Cu Chi tunnels) about how terrible the Americans were and how heroic the Vietnamese are in fighting against the Americans. Our guide(Vietnamese, but spoke perfect English with I believe an Australian accent) was also very much anti American.
Oh, our bus attendant for this tour also had an uncanny resemblance to our shitty taxi driver from last night!!! It took RL a while to be convinced that they weren’t the same guy…yes, all Asians look the same.
We didn’t take photos because as you can see, everyone just stood around and watched you crawl in and take a photo. Meh. I think RL and I are the two people who are the most uninterested in this tour.
The only cool things we learned here was that the VC would wear sandals backwards so that if the Americans found their trail, they would follow them the wrong way. Also, in the tunnels, they distinguished the smells of the Americans by the unpleasant smell of the leather boots that have been water soaked.
Our enthusiastic guide telling us about all the ingenious ways that the VC made weapons to kill the Americans. I wonder if RL and I are the most uninterested because we are Americans out of the group. Out of this entire bus of 43, there are only 3 Americans. We know because we had to fill out one of those charts that said who and from where etc. Americans don’t travel much outside of America. We’ve met quite a bit of Germans on this trip so far though.
And now we head down into the Cu Chi Tunnels. Wait, sorry. The originals tunnels haven’t been used since the war, so we are not allowed in. And even if we were, they are so small that few of us could fit into them, so they built these tunnels that are double the size of the original for the tourists. These tunnels are also concrete instead of just mud. I wonder if there are millipedes inside..?
They also had these giant ants here. Speaking of ants, somehow one of these giant ants got into my shirt when I first arrived in Phnom Penh a few days back. It bit me on my stomach and now I’ve had a big red bump since then. Vicious little things.
A really hot hour and a half bus ride, and we are back in Saigon. That tour was lame and it took up all morning and early part of the afternoon. I felt like we needed to check out the Cu Chi Tunnels so we wouldn’t have wondered if it was going to be good or not. 3 out of 4 thumbs down. We did get to see the giant bugs!
It’s about 2pm, and we are hungry. We got dropped off at a different spot than the pick up, and close to the last two things that we wanted to see in Saigon before leaving tomorrow. Power through, lunch later!
This happened. I saw this years back and it became the most powerful photo I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t believe my eyes the first time I saw this. The monks were protesting against the government who were repressing Buddhists.(The government rulers at the time were Catholic) There are other acts of elf imm_____n(I didn’t write out the word because I didn’t want the next country that I am going to visit next to firewall my site), but I have yet to see another where the protester never moved a muscle during the whole ordeal.
Found…except not. You know that famous photo of the helicopter taking off from the roof of a building after the fall of Saigon, well we thought that this was the building. But upon closer inspection, it’s not. Google Maps SUCKS here in Vietnam. It’s actually more than useless, because it gives you the wrong addresses instead of just telling you that it can’t find it. I’ve had a little bit more luck with Bing Maps, just a little bit more.
Pho 24 was ok, I’ve had better Pho before.
To be continued at Train to Hoi An.