Monday, June 27, 2011

Chu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam

The day started with a 1.5 hour drive to the Chu Chi area.  Lucky for us, we hired a private driver and guide, because 25 minutes into the drive, Kevin was covered in vomit!  Makayla has inherited something from me, passed down from my generous aunt Connie ~ Motion sickness/carsickness.  This isn't the first time she has been sick in the car, but this was out of control!  We stripped her down, tried to wash her and Kevin off with a few bottles of water on the side of the street and drove until we found a kids clothing store a few miles down.

Makayla and I went in, found her cute new outfit with tags reading Children's Place, used the bathroom to wash our hands, walked out of the bathroom with dripping wet shoes, because the sink drained onto the floor below. Then, continued on our journey.  Tomorrow, she will try dramamine!

The Chu Chi Tunnels are fascinating.  Built in the 1940's and later, expanded by the guerrilla Viet Cong (the people that fled Saigon when the new leader took over in the 60's), they were used for living and combat. The tunnels were hiding places, as well as, communication and supply routes, hospitals and living quarters.  It took the people about 10-years to dig and build.

Interesting, one of the American military bases was built and set-up on top of the tunnels.  The Viet Cong could hear every movement.

Kevin going into the entrance to the tunnels used by the guerrilla group and the north trained recruits that had been sent south to fight with them, making the group together known as Viet Cong in the American/Vietnam War:
 As you can see, the tunnels were built for a much smaller person.  He stayed down there with the cover on, for just a couple seconds too long, which made me nervous.  Later, he admitted it was so small, he actually cramped up a bit and couldn't get the top off:

 A sample of one of the traps they spread throughout the jungle. This one is bamboo spears hidden in a hole covered with a revolving door, covered with grass. They once used these for hunting food, later, for wartimes:

 The kids wondering if they could go into the hole:
 They recycled everything.  Their bombs were made from the unexploded American missile's that had been recovered and rebuilt, some of the traps were made using fragments of our metal scattered throughout the area and their shoes were made from tires.  They made the wide part of the shoe to fit their heel and the narrow part of the shoe under their toes, to make the people tracking them think they were walking the opposite direction:

 American tank destroyed by a land mine in 1970:

 Kevin and I entering the tunnel, that has actually been made larger for tourists and were still EXTREMELY small and claustrophobic.  The ground here is made-up of clay and the tunnels go 3 levels deep:

Kevin shot a machine gun and an AK-47 that was used in the war: 

The kids hiding in the bamboo trees:

Washing up after running through the jungle and tunnels....or, maybe it was the chocolate ice cream:

On a side note, the trees you see in the background of the pictures in this area of Chu Chi, are all newly planted since the war.  Agent Orange was very effective in doing it's job of killing all of the flora for wartimes.

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