This morning we travelled 1.5hrs to the Cu Chi Tunnels with our tour company Asianalink, these tunnels were used by the Cu Chi Gorillas or Vietcong in the Vietnam war. Majority of the people on our tour were Australian so the tour guide brought out his best Australian sayings for the day. The tour guide asked to be called by his Australian name of Slim Jim, which he obtained because he eats like a bird and smokes like a chimney. He was also recovering from a big night where fell off the wagon, but luckily this morning he was back on the wagon for the tour. He did mention that he expects he will once again fall off the wagon at happy hour tonight though.
The tour guide was great and was very interesting to listen to. He was working for the armed forces during the Vietnam war, he then became a teacher. He was able to give us first hand knowledge of what happened during the war as well as what was written in the history books. We learnt about the traps which were set (some are in the photos), the underground tunnels, how they used to cook food underground and had the opportunity to fire an M16 assault rifle.
The tunnels were very small and the Vietcong had to enter these on hands and knees. There were small concealed hatches to gain entry to the tunnels and underground rooms provided areas for the Vietcong to eat, cook and seek shelter from the bombs which were being dropped in the area. To cook underground they had a system to disperse the smoke from the fires away from the actual tunnel and up through the ground so as not to be spotted. There were also hospitals etc all located under the ground. The tunnels were built as small as possible to increase the stability during bomb strikes, the smaller the tunnel the less chance of collapse. As more and more western tourists come to the site, they have had to increase the tunnel size to allow westerners to enter. Even though the tunnels have been expanded, they are still very small. There is an opportunity to enter a 100m long tunnel and walk the whole way.
There were no AK47’s to fire today, however they did have some M16 assault rifles. To fire these there was a cost of $25 for 10 rounds. The rifle range is very loud but M did very well and hit the target at 100m.
After a sleep in the hotel this afternoon we made our way out to dinner. Trip Advisor is great for finding local restaurants with allergen friendly food. Tonight we stopped off at Asian Kitchen for some amazing Pho and curries. Mostly Australian people in the restaurant and the food was great at very cheap prices.
Another great place to check out is Ralph’s Artisan Gelato, they have a very yummy selection of home made gelato and sorbet. They also have gluten and dairy free options and the owner is a really nice guy, we have been back three times in two days (twice today) for gelato and a chat to Ralph the owner. Great gelato and great staff.
That is all for today, another big day on the road and we are all very tired. Tomorrow we are heading out for a walk around the city to see some of the key places.