Okie dokie, had a short break from the series of Vietnam posts, now I am back to share more…
I hope I could illustrate to the best of my ability of our experience in the Cu Chi Tunnels as photos and videos could tell so much but you HAVE GOT TO BE THERE to FEEL IT man!!!
I would not say its scary but there were a couple of moments whereby I felt that there is no end to the tunnel as it gets harder to breathe. What made me carry on was my boys’ determination to keep going on and who were moving so fast ahead of me on bended backs.
Maybe because of their small build….*shrugged* but they had to crouch their backs and walk with bended knees too! Just that we, adults had to bend more.
Not something I would go for again. However, this place “Cu Chi Underground Tunnels” taught my family the true meaning of “When there’s a Will, there’s a Way.”
Ok, before we get down, dirty and dark : Triple Ds, let’s start from the beginning of the day.
The kids had very little problem waking up early, I was surprised, ‘cos the beds in our hotel room were so comfortable!!! Maybe because today is THE DAY they had been looking forward to the most as they will be having their VERY FIRST FISHING experience.
Ever since Kitkit no longer feel alienated towards our tour guide, he had been asking, “Are we going for fishing now?”And it had been “No”, until today.
After bath, it was time to have our complementary breakfast in the hotel. Sadly, the breakfast spread provided at the hotel lobby did not match the standard of our room.
Whenever I get a chance to go overseas, I would want to try as many new food or local delicacies as possible. Which is also why eating assorted insects was a fun experience for Allan and I when we went Bangkok, Thailand years back. *giggle*
Therefore I purposely chose those food items which I have not seen before or had a Vietnamese name tag infront of the tray.
Everything on my plate looked so tempting but in this case, looks can really be deceiving. Its NOT distasteful. Its just bland, regardless of the shape, colour and size of each item on my plate. *sigh*
As usual, my tour guide, Lan was earlier then our meeting time. Nice!
We hopped into Mr W.’s 7-seater again and went on another hour plus ride from our hotel to reach Cu Chi Tunnel.
To achieve faster loading time for this page, I have selected most of the photos to be presented in the form of a slideshow; only picking out certain photos that have things worth mentioning.
The photos on the slideshow is NOTin sequence, so it might be a little confusing. I had been trying to make them go in order, but I just could not get it done. *sigh* Then I typed descriptions below every photo in the slideshow and only after completing the 33 photos, did I realise that the descriptions do NOT show up on the slideshow! *faint* Then I had to transfer all the descriptions into the Title section, thinking that it will show up on the slideshow, just like the slideshow I did for our lunch at the end of this post, whereby you could see the description, BUT IT STILL DIDN’T show descriptions for all all the photos in this slideshow!!! Some can see and some cannot!!! *super faint*
So sorry readers, you can just watch the slideshow without any description, but man! the descriptions are there! Just not showing up. *pout*
Suddenly feel like out of breath when I found out that I had wasted so much time and effort, just like how I felt when I was in level 2 of the Cu Chi Tunnel.
So, just view each photo as an individual, and try not to relate one to another, I think it would be better. If you are unable to view the slideshow on your mobile device, you might need to watch it on your laptop or PC. Apologies.
During the war, everyone living in Cu Chi was a fighter or soldier. None of them were military trained but because of their determination to survive and protect their land, man or woman, even children alike were forced to hold up a weapon and fight their enemies.
It was also through desperation that they thought of LIVING underground, so that while the bombing and fighting continues on the ground, children can continue to study, woman can continue to cook, doctors can continue to treat patients, meetings can continue to take place…….underground.
We had the chance to visit the different ‘rooms‘ underground in the Cu Chi Tunnel. At the end of it all, I only have one word for them “BRILLIANT!”
We were led to this sheltered presentation area where a briefing was done on how the war at Cu Chi started, how the people thought of digging the Cu Chi tunnel and how the more-than-a-decade long war ended eventually.
I was greatly disappointed as we could only understand the video, because it was in English, but the presentation after the video was done in complete Vietnamese. There was another tour guide there, leading a small group of tourists. He was doing the translation for his group and I am not sure if I was too sensitive, but he was ONLY WILLING to let his group hear his English translation of what the Vietnamese presenter was saying. He was literally whispering/mumbling! I was just 4 seats away from him and even I have problem hearing what he was translating. *Super eyes rolled*
To me, this is a tourist attraction in Vietnam, why isn’t there an English translator together with the Vietnamese presenter? Is it because we went there in the weekdays? Even my Cu Chi Tour Guide speaks good English, why isn’t he doing the translation for us?
It was a total letdown. We just sat there for a long time learning nothing from the presentation which I think was really informative. *Humph*
After that, my 3 ‘men‘ had the first taste of what the tunnels are like while I did the videoing from the ground.
The young and the old had the same response after they crawled out of the tunnel, “Must Bend Very Low!”
And we moved on to the ‘Real Thing’!
It was 3 levels deep and I had the initial thought of exploring all the levels, but Nooooo………
We went into the first level and came out perspiring like mad! But it was still bearable. The tunnel was intimidating as all you can see is NOTHING! It was pitch black until you reach a ‘room‘.
We had to bend our knees and our back so much in order to move in the tunnel and it was a great relieve to see a ‘room‘ where we can finally straighten our body. There is no bad smell, just stale air.
I think it was good that we were able to come out to the surface to get some fresh air every now and then during our tunnel exploration. But during the Cu Chi war period, these ‘exits‘ were NOT available, as these ‘exits‘ were created for tourists.
My tour guide, Lan told us that there were tourists stuck in the tunnel before and everyone behind the big guy had to walk backwards on bended knees and back, as it was IMPOSSIBLE to turn one’s body 180 degrees when you are in the tunnel itself, in order to let the big guy exit the tunnel.
As the tunnels were dug by human, it is NOT of equal width throughout. Therefore if you are a big-sized person, there is a chance for you to get stuck in the middle of the tunnel, even though you were moving fine in the beginning.
It may frighten some of you, but then again, just like how I started this post, in my opinion, it is WORTH EXPERIENCING it once in your life.
Then we moved on to level 2. Further down into the earth. We started to perspire even more and breathing had become a little more difficult. But I remembered my friend who came here last year mentioned that she saw a video that showed bats were living in the tunnel and I have yet to see any! So I was determined to go on.
Then, something which I DID NOT EXPECT happened. There was a slope inside the pitch black tunnel!!!!!
One moment, I could see Kitkit infront of me. Next moment he was gone!!!!
The slope was NOT slippery as there is no water, but it was sure sandy. So this is no playground slide where you could swoosh your way down. The slope was not long too. So just take small baby steps, hands on the sides of the tunnel and walk down.
There were more ‘rooms‘ that served different purposes in level 2 but I was feeling a little giddy by then to really understand what the Cu Chi Tour Guide was saying.
The only sentence I heard loud and clear was, “Ok? Do you want to go more? Next is Level 3.”
Allan turned and looked at me as he could see that I was exhausted. Turn left to CLIMB UP to level 1 to reach the short-cut exit ORmove forward to go down and move further to the core of the earth at level 3.
I shook my head and chose to turn left.
It was then that bats started to flap their wings madly out from another tunnel! Yeah!!! *clap clap clap* So happy! I finally get to see bats face to face!!! You must be thinking I’m mad! *laugh*
This was our Forced-Smile at the camera after our adventure in the Cu Chi Tunnel :
But we were actually panting and our shirts were soaked through when this photo was taken… Can’t tell right? Photos can be deceiving! *laugh*
We were then given plates of fruits and a ‘staple food’ which the Cu Chi People ate during the war. Its nice, but we were really not in the mood to eat as we were still trying hard to cool ourselves down. So we ate one to two pieces each.
After this short rest, we bid farewell and thanked our Cu Chi Tour Guide as we moved on to see the other exhibits in this place, that was ON THE GROUND.
You can see most of the photos in the slideshow above earlier on.
You might think that in this place that records or captures the cruelty of war will never be able to put a smile on your face. I was lucky to meet a ‘cute guy’ that nearly made me burst into laughter. Not going to repeat the story here as I had already done it in my Personal Blog “Anything Under The Sun”, go read the post here in “ Song Sharing Sunday #215 – Hands Up ~ 2pm ”
Then the bugging question from Kitkit started again “Are we going Fishing now?~!”*laugh* My poor tour guide, Lan had to shake her head once more and said: “Soon. After lunch.”
We had lunch at a nearby restaurant, but we had to get back into Mr. W.’s 7 seater car first and let him drive us there.
The scenery was lovely! Eating beside the river and watching water hyacinth floating on the surface, slowly being pushed along by the river current. But the food did not match the place. It was pretty bland and the meat was hard. But the SOUP…Aaawwww….it was SUPER YUMMY!!!!!!!!
Once again, our dear friend who owns this tour agency had prepared too much food for us, plus we were too tired from the experience at Cu Chi Tunnel, we could not finish everything that was on our dining table.
The food we had in slideshow below :
Another long post!
I think I will stop here for now before I take you to our Very First Fishing experience as a family, eating at the street stalls and shopping. All in the next post.