I’m not usually a coffee drinker, but these long days and nights are turning me into one… at least while I’m traveling like this.
Today was a rushed day in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Saigon) but we did manage to squeeze in a bit of a history lesson. Apparently, the thing to do (especially if you’re an American) is to go visit the Cu Chi Tunels of Ho Ho Chi Minh.
This was the territory occupied by the Viet Kong who built underground tunnels in which to live, and thought up all kinds of creative booby traps for the American soldiers…
and while this period in American history is known as the Vietnam War, to the Vietnamese, it’s known as the American War, where the “monsters from Washington DC” came to torture the villagers.
I learned another perspective about the war — and I learned about Agent Orange. That’s the pesticide the Americans used to try and destroy the jungle so that they could get to the Viet Kong. What they didn’t know was how it would effect the people. Anyone in harms way of Agent Orange not only suffered muscular and physical damage, but also passed it on to their children for generations. We saw photos.
We latched on to a tour guide named Jackie who served as a translator in the American Navy. He said had he not been working on behalf of the Americans, he probably would have died, too.
Jackie showed us all the greusome torture tactics the natives dreamed up to fight the American soldiers. It was sort of a tough day, but very necessary, especially as an American tourist in this country.
..But Jackie said, don’t worry! The Americans and Vietnamese: friends, now!
The tour ended with some action at the shooting range — admittedly, a little kitchy (as our tour book promised) but kinda funny so we had to partake. Allison and I wrangled some tourists from another group to shoot M-16s with us, since you have to by 10 bullets to shoot. We each shot 2, except I also shot one of Allison’s because she got scared.
Here are some of our new friends:
We had a late afternoon flight to Siem Reap, so after spending our morning at the Cu Chi Tunnels, it was off to the airport.
Goodbye Vietnam! And then we headed out for Cambodia.
We’re here now, after checking into our amazing hotel. I still can’t get over how cheap everything is, here. We decided to REALLY splure at $50 a room and we are staying in what feels like a luxurious resort. Even the mosquito netting looks nice.
I’m in town now at an internet cafe. Tammy, Esther and I came here to explore while Allison is hanging out at the “resort.”
We rented bikes that we’re going to ride EARLY in the morning to go ride to the temples for sunrise at Angkor Wat or another nearby site.
I can’t WAIT until I can post my gallery of photos! It’s amazing here and weather is about 75 degrees. It looks like nothing I’ve ever seen before! So keep an eye out for more pics!
Well, I’m off to go meet Tammy and Esther around the corner for a massage at a super-plush spa. $20 will cover an hour plus a generous tip… and that’s considered quite expensive around these parts.