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Vietnam: Cu Chi Tunnels

By on December 9, 2017 in Vietnam with 2 Comments

Gina Pacelli, Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam“I can’t think think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.” – Bill Bryson

Day 2 in Vietnam begins now…

We woke up early to catch a private tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta. We spent about $80 each for a van and two tour guides, who were friendly and accommodating. They shared their Vietnamese customs with us on our trek to the Cu Chi Tunnels, including the naughty ones concerning the wealthy men and their mistresses. I asked if they were faithful to their wives. They denied any extramarital affairs. We were also able to adjust our times to suit our needs.

Travel trip: Consider private tours in Vietnam, which are quite inexpensive. They are a great way to avoid crowds, receive solid attention from your guides, and explore at your own pace. They are well worth the nominal increase in price.  

Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam   Clipping Armpit Trap, Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam

We arrived early at the Cu Chi Tunnels, avoiding the plethora of tourists. We kicked off our excursion with a movie educating us on the Vietnam War. My heart grew heavy as I watched the horrors of war.

Elaine, Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam   Elaine, Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam

I learned how the Communist guerrilla troops, the Viet Cong, had built tunnels underground. This is where they hid from American soldiers. They laid traps under the ground, which would lead soldiers to a slow, painful death. They honored their men and women who killed the most Americans. The short film was from the Communist perspective, and it was layered with propaganda. My body was numb. I hate war; I want peace.

Elaine is Underground, Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam   Erin, Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam

Our guides handed us over to a Cu Chi Tunnel tour guide, who was just for us. Our guide took us to the camouflaged holes in the ground. For the purpose of sharing this piece of history with tourists, the holes have been expanded. The Vietnamese were much smaller than Americans. I had already known this as Deb had shared her experience with me.

As we continued along our tour, our guide showed us weapons hidden beneath the earth, such as the clipping armpit trap pictured above. Learning about these techniques left my mouth dry and my face expressionless.

Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam   Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam

We purchased bullets to fire at their shooting range. The power shook my body when I pulled my gun’s trigger. Even though I was wearing ear pads, the screeching of the bullet flying though the air stung my eardrums. I cannot image the trauma those soldiers must have faced listening to these heart-wrenching sounds all-day long.

Elaine, Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam   Elaine, Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam

We explored the tunnels, well as much as we could get through. Although they had been enlarged for tourists, I still felt like the world was swallowing me up as I entered. I had been forewarned by Alison, who is Vietnamese. Her husband, Kelvin, visited the tunnels and said they may make me claustrophobic. He was right, but I am glad I experienced them. The Cu Chi Tunnels are a hard pill to swallow. I left drained, but educated; fascinated, yet horrified.

Gina Pacelli, Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam

Before we left, we were given complimentary tea and a snack. As we exited, we saw an endless sea of tourists entering, and buses galore filled the parking lot. We were happy we got an early start to our day. I was also relieved that this part of the tour was in the morning. I was looking forward to a much more light-hearted afternoon exploring the Mekong Delta.

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