Part 2…Most awe inspiring tour yet in Southeast Asia…Cu Chi Tunnel…Tom’s brave although short exposure to the tunnels…

Tom is sitting at the table in a meeting room bunker with several mannequins and two other passengers standing behind him.

As mentioned in a prior post, we’re continuing to include photos and stories (when applicable) from our cruise/tour to Vietnam. Earlier we’d posted photos from Hanoi, Vietnam, and a few areas in Cambodia.

Two Russian MIGs which was used by the North Vietnam Air Force.

The bulk of the photos we have yet to share are from Vietnam during the roughly 11 days we spent in the exotic country. We both agreed we could hardly jump to Phuket, Thailand now, leaving this important information behind.

US Huey helicopter.

As for Phuket, thus far we’re becoming adapted to yet another house in a foreign land. Nuances such as finding outlets that work for our adapters, location of light switches which is very different from country to country (in other words, walk into a room and there’s no light switch nearby upon entering) figuring out TV systems and remotes, turning on the oven (never a simple turn of a dial or two) is all a part of the process.

Rocket launchers on helicopters.

This house has eight doors we need to lock at night. Much to our delight and surprise, there are screens on the six sliding doors, causing free air to flow through the house each day. 

One can only imagine how dangerous it was flying these helicopters during the war.

Each area of the house has an air-con unit, but in an effort to be mindful of power usage, so far we’ve only used the one in the bedroom at night along with the overhead fan. It’s hot and humid here, so much so that in our old lives in the US we’d have had whole-house air-con on day and night. 

US artillery pieces and two jeeps.

We sweat it out in 85% to 90% humidity which is uncomfortable at any higher temps. With a floor fan that doesn’t quite reach us (due to lack of outlets), with an overhead fan in a vaulted ceiling, the breeze is minimal. 

Viet Cong hammock with a tarp.

Overall, we’re managing fine. Last night we made our first meal in months, roasted chicken parts, green beans, and salad with a cheese plate for dessert. We made enough chicken for two nights.  All we’ll need to prepare for tonight is the salad and green beans. 

US  rocket launchers and cluster bombs.

Tom will assist me in the chopping and dicing. Bending over the short countertops in brutal at this point, but is often an issue when in most countries the population is much shorter than we are and countertops are made to accommodate their stature, not ours.

Above ground table and benches for dining or meeting.

The house is lovely, well maintained with nary a worn or old amenity. There’s no dishwasher, clothes dryer, large pans, or mixing bowls, but we found a two-liter pitcher for our iced tea and there’s an electric drip coffee pot. 

Horrifying bamboo spikes in ground booby traps. 

There was no ground coffee at the market (only instant which we don’t like) with only ground espresso. Each day we’re testing using different amounts to correct the flavor to our taste.

Another view of a booby trap.

Included in the rent is a house cleaner every Wednesday and Saturday. We passed on yesterday’s cleaning since we’d arrived the prior night and didn’t need it. We’ll keep it tidy in the interim, as we always do.

Surgery bunker sign. Can we even imagine how dangerous surgery was at this location?

Today, it’s raining, which is expected to continue throughout the day. We’ve yet to use the pool.  There are no steps leading into the water, only a ladder at the deep end. I can’t imagine how I can manage the ladder at this point, fearful of twisting or turning the wrong way. We’ll see how it goes.

Viet Cong surgery bunker.

We’d considered renting a car, but with my need to rest, a driver will be most logical over these remaining 39 days. We can go shopping each week at a reasonable cost for the taxi and he’ll wait while we shop.

Notice the sweat on Tom’s shirt. He was soaked after crawling through the narrow tunnels. This larger opening was a welcome relief.  Some of the tunnels and openings were enlarged for the benefit of tourists.

Dining out will come once I’m feeling up to it. In the interim, there are numerous “take away” delivery services that have roasted chickens and salads that may work for us a few times a week.

Now, we continue with our tour of the Cu Chi Tunnel after Part 1 included photos of Tom tackling a few of the narrowest portions of the tunnel, entering at one narrow point and exiting 10 to 30 meters later at another opening.
If you missed that prior post, please click here.
Entrance to a narrow tunnel which was also enlarged.

The bus ride to the location was about an hour outside of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) requiring we backtrack to return to Saigon later in the day for the two-night hotel stay at another Sofitel Hotel, the least favorite of the three Sofitel Hotels included in the cruise tour. 

The trip from the ship to include the tour of the Cu Chi Tunnel, a stop for lunch, and the return drive extended over an eight hour period with about five hours riding on the bus. It was a long hot day but we were excited to visit the tunnel which we entered in the Ben Dinh area.

Tom took this photo while climbing out of a narrow tunnel by turning around after he’d already crawled through this spot.

With the tunnel extending as follows:

“The 75-mile (121 km)-long complex of tunnels at Củ Chi has been preserved by the government of Vietnam,[3] and turned into a war memorial park with two different tunnel display sites, Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc. The tunnels are a popular tourist attraction, and visitors are invited to crawl around in the safer parts of the tunnel system. The Ben Duoc site contains part of the original tunnel system, while the Ben Dinh site, closer to Saigon, has tunnel reconstructions and some tunnels have been made larger to accommodate the larger size of Western tourists. In both sites low-power lights have been installed in the tunnels to make traveling through them easier, and both sites have displays of the different types of booby traps that were used. Underground conference rooms where campaigns such as the Tết Offensive were planned in 1968 have been restored, and visitors may enjoy a simple meal of food that Viet Cong fighters would have eaten.”

Included today are some of the best remaining photos we’d taken during the tour of the tunnel. Please check back tomorrow for the balance of the photos.

We’ll look forward to seeing you then!

Photo from one year ago today, July 24, 2015:

Once inside the long, narrow Mangrove Boardwalk in Cairns, Australia we walked deeper and deeper into the marsh never encountering other visitors. For more details, please click here.

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