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Monday, October 12, 2009

Saigon - Cu Chi Tunnel Tour

Right after we had our so called “lunch”, we continued the journey to Cu Chi Tunnel, the place where Viet Cong guerillas hid during combat. The journey took another one and half hour of rubber trees and paddy fields along the way.
We saw an entrance in the middle of the hedge plant on the left side, but the bus kept on moving straight. How I wish the bus stopped there, as my back and waist started to feel numb. Nevertheless, the bus stopped about 5km from the first entrance and we saw few tourist busses parked at parking bay.
Yes! Finally!
We hopped down the bus and almost all of us headed to the gents and ladies! Haha! Tak tahannnnn! Natures call! We paid the entrance fee and followed the tour guide. He asked us to follow him closely as we shall move in a group. (Never get lost! You don’t want to step onto the booby traps!)
Every group will be occupied with one official tour guide, who wore Viet Cong’s attire. Serious and unfriendly. Haha! First thing that we saw, a large-long-dark-tourist tunnel with communist flags, which was built to give the intro sentiment of Vietnam War, to visitors. We had to undergo this tunnel to get to the other side of the area, where the real location of Cu Chi tunnel located.
Few big sheds built over the hard clay, had made the whole thing possible. They had sick bays, living and dining halls, bedrooms, kitchens, command centers and even weapon factories! 10,000 people, getting married, giving birth, lived underground??? My goodness! 30 years of war, and the bomb used, were like 3-4 times more than WWII! Such a survivor!
It’s been said that this tunnel was stretched from the outskirt of Saigon, all the way to Cambodia border, something like 250km! They dug with their own hand tools and had their own air vents and traps. We went in few sheds that were formerly underground (but now over the ground, just for the tourism purpose). They have 2 sets of tunnels, where the earlier place that we saw on the bus is open for locals (smaller and narrower, remain the originality), while the one that we went is for tourist (slightly bigger and organized, complete with pre-screening and souvenir shops). In this tunnel, you can see tables, chairs, cabinets, and I tell you, they lived like normal people down there!
We then moved to this section, where they illustrated the self-made Viet Cong’s weapons and traps. Almost every trap had “hole” featured, with sharpen spikes attached to it. Step on it, fall into it, and get stab by it. Booby trap! Easy. That was for ground attack. They also had swing doors with sharpen spikes and thrown down sharpen “durian” shaped weapon.
“Ok, let’s go to the other section, where you can see the bunker and tanker”, our tour guide voiced out. Best nih! We tried to catch up with him (yeah, he walked fast, just to make sure that he is ahead of other groups…it’s a competitive world! Haha…no la, I think, better to be that way, as we will have plenty of time to listen to his explanation and take pictures.)
We stopped at this one big tent where a tanker was displayed. Copying the way of one internet blogger shot his pictures, hubby and I started to post. I even sat and joined the “askar buatan” macam geng plak. Haha! Best gile! And one of our groupmate, one old Singaporean auntie, climbed onto the tanker with her wedges, and sat on the top of it! Gile kuat!
Being two of the left out people at the back, we ran to the rest of the groupmates (don’t worry, the official tour guide will ensure you won’t left behind…and make sure, you walk using the trails that have setup, ok?). The tour guide later showed us one small jungle floor area and asked “Ok, now, can someone tell me, what you see here?” and everyone replied “Nothing…”. “Can someone show me, where is the secret door?” and everyone knew that there was a camouflaged door down there, covered by leaves.
I volunteered to show where the hidden closed door was and I almost got it right with few inches away! And guess what? I was one of the visitors that got the chance to step down into it! The official tourist guide went down at first and did the demo. He was slim and slender, and so I thought I can fit into the hole. I later did the same thing, where I was asked to close the cover (I tell you, it was super darn dark and small!), and pop out in a minute later. It was as small as my size and my muffin tops did touch the edge of the hole ok! Hubby? Say goodbye to the small hole and he can never fit into it lah! The tour guide told us that there will be another camo door that fit American size. They built it on purpose. So big sizer, don’t worry…you’ll get your chance to try.
We passed by few underground tunnel entrances and had our chance to experience how they looked from inside. Neon lights and gasoline smell filled the chambers. No one can stand of the smell and started to climb up. Haha! Suffocated siut! We later moved to few sheds that demonstrated Viet Cong attires making (they even had sewing machine to do the job) and sandals making (it was made from rubber that cut from lorry tires…creative!)
Along the way out, the tour guide asked us “What is this?” and pointed to a huge termite nest that stuck between the woods. And for sure, everyone answered a termite nest! Duhhhh! He later explained that yes, it was a termite nest butttttt, it was also an air vent for the people down there. Oooo…there was a hole below the nest…another distraction for the Americans! Put in your hand, got bite by termites! Haha! He also showed the kitchen ground chimney, where they only cooked during dawn and midnite. Why? Because smoke=fog. Clever!
Almost towards the end of the expedition, we stopped at one small tunnel entrance. The tour guide allowed us to try it and he will wait us at the other exit. 50m or 100m, we made the call. Half of us agreed to try and hopped down the tunnel. Dark and narrow. The gasoline smell attacked! Ducked and bended knee, we continued the mission. We only managed to go to 1st and 2nd tiers of the tunnel and we surrendered! (For info, there was a 3rd tier and we didn’t have a clue, how and where to get there.
Lost the battle to the gasoline smell and suffocation, afraid to get lost and being trapped alone in that rat-sized-tunnel, we made a right turn and tried to find way out! And guess what? We were actually there without the official tour guide supervision at all! What if we really can’t find our way out? Will they come and rescue us??? Crazy!!!
We met our tour guide at the souvenir shop, where I bought one Cu Chi tunnel printed jewelry box. There, they had this one shooting range that offered visitors to shoot the barrels with AK46 and M16. Having this love-and-hate relationship with military weapons, with super expensive bullets, I passed the activity.
Smelly, sweaty, dirty, weary, sleepy, we walked to the bus. Another one and half hour to the Ho Chi Minh City. We took a nap and woke up an hour later. The bus approaching the city. We decided to hop down near the Ben Than Market, for dinner and final shopping. Managed to buy some magnets and bookmarks as souvenirs, rain started to pour.
We ran to the nearest shop to get an umbrella or raincoats. I saw one hung near the door and asked the girl “Where to get this?” and pointed to the raincoat. She lifted the plastic cover that covered magazines from rain and gave us 3 raincoats to choose. Lucky she sold them to us for RM5 for two! It would be easier to walk in the rain with bags and cameras under it. I took the purple while hubby took the blue. The girl giggled with her friend, looking at us who happily wore the raincoats in front of them like we never seen it before. Haha! (She took a glimpse at my Titus watch and ankle band, and smile…don’t know why.)
Walking down few blocks with wet and slippery sandals, we stopped twice to ask where the hell was Parkson (that being pronounced as “Pakson”) just to have a dinner at D’Anjung. I even bought a stupid PUMA flip flop to replace the stupid mary-jane CROCS! (Always get a pair of comfy shoes when you travel.)
At last, we saw Parkson in front of us. It was actually situated new the Uncle Ho’s statue. And this Parkson was not as usual Parkson that we have back in M’sia. What you see in Pavillion is what you see in their Parkson! All branded brands like Lacoste, Guess, Salvatore, you name it. So I guess, only the rich shops here.
We walked straight to the foodcourt and didn’t manage to find D’Anjung. Celaka tul! The place that we fight for, wasn’t there! What we found was a stall named Taj Mahal that was really “mahal”. We ordered 2 plain rice, chicken curry, and mixed vege, for RM40. While eating the food, hubby laughed and said “Ayang, you nak tau kat mana D’Anjung?” I stunned! “Tuuuuuu…” he showed the stall right behind me. It was just a small stall that sold nasik lemak RM6 and kuih!!! Arghhhh!!!
Finished our food, we head back to the hotel. Beforehand, failed to find the Russian Market, we went to the Saigon Square, with the helped of one Viet-spoken Arab and his quiet-sexy girlfriend. Haha! Surrendered with the early closed shops (bodo gile tutup awal), we went back to the hotel and zzzzzzzzz…


Ely Hasrul said...

baru mlm tadik tgk russian market kt amazing race

Biqque said...

ye ke??? cis! tak jumpa sial bila nak cari...bila pass by je nampak plak!

dibitz said...

that's one darn small hole!!!!!!!! giler tak selesa!

Biqque said...

they have even smaller than that tau! like me yang DULU je bleh masuk...

debyG! said...

haa... ada pun continuation, i know ur trip story x abis lagi...

as i said, kompem peha i jer lepas dlm that shitty hole! hahaha

Biqque said...

ha tu la deb, aku cam rasa tak abih lagi je trip saigon tu...tergaru2 gak kepala, apa yg aku tak cite lagi...rupa2nya kisah tunnel ni belum diceritakannnnnnnnnnnnn...ha! puas hati ku!

Shaza said...

salam biqque, nak tanya, sesuai tak kalo nak bawak baby 5mths to cu chi tunnel ni? banyak nyamuk tak? i nak pegi nov ni...

Biqque said...

actually tempat ni tak sesuai utk baby sebab dia betul2 cam hutan (tapi tak tebal la, cam semak2 skit). nyamuk ada, semut ada, agas pun ada.

terpulang kat u, if rasa tak kisah nak pegi, cover la baby tu "sepenuhnye", bukan apa, takut la apa2 kan...if kisah, tak yah pegi :)

Shaza said...

wokey... thx for the info... nampaknye baby kena tinggal kat hotel je la...

Unknown said...

These picture are very helpful for my plans. They are strongly wonderful. If you allowed, I could use them to post my website: ?
Thank you for your pictures.

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