Day 2

Day 2

On day 2 of our stay in Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh city, we piled into a van and headed out to the Cuchi district.  Cuchi is about 40 kilometers northeast from Saigon, and according to our tour guide, 2,000 people, Viet Cong and local villages, lived in a network of underground tunnels, outlasting American bombing runs and troop assaults for extended periods of time.
The tunnels were dug up to 40 feet underground, and were generally 60 to 70 centimeters tall and 40 to 50 centimeters wide. The underground network included living quarters, defensive bunkers, water wells, medical stations, and cooking bunkers designed to disperse steam in a way that would look like morning mist to American soldiers walking above ground. They disguised their ventilation systems to look like   termite hills, and left tiny entrances to the tunnels, approximately a foot and a half wide under cover of leaves and vegetation.
When food ran scarce, the people survived on a locally grown root that was steamed and salted, and actually tasted very good, starchy like a potato. When American soldiers were not nearby, the people of the Cuchi district lived above ground in mud huts in scattered villages throughout the area.

Its interesting to note the attitude of the vietnamese considering the war. All our tour guides talked about the war in a matter-of-fact historical manner, and some details were hard for us to stomach. One tour guide showed us a propaganda video from the 60’s that depicted certain heroic vietnamese locals who gathered arms to fight the “crazy devils from washington d.c. with their bombs and bullets.  I guess what I didn’t learn in school was the perspective of the vietnamese people during the war; for them, the Americans were the Invaders, the aggressive and evil nation seeking to occupy their country by backing a puppet government with U.S. marines.

After spending the afternoon in Cuchi district the crew headed to the airport back in Saigon. We hopped on a plane, and after about a 2 hour plane ride landed in Hanoi. We were met by a travel agent named who called himseslf Kevin, who found us a van and drove us to the Bao Khanh Hotel.  We checked in and headed upstairs to the hotel restaurant and a breathtaking view of Hanoi city.

Hanoi city feels much different that Saigon upon arriving.  There is far fewer people living here, and the city has progressed much father as far as construction and development of new architecture goes. In each direction people are working away at the landscape, working sometimes with modern technology, sometimes with nothing more than hammers, picks and shovels.  It is a very industrial place, with various plants and factories providing work for thousands and thousands of people.  And yet Hanoi feels more like an ideal ancient Asian city than Saigon, possibly just because it is cleaner and their temples are clearly more well kept.  The hectic lifestyle of Ho Chi Minh still permeates the population of the city, and it still feels like a roller coaster to drive in Hanoi traffic; everyone is actively going somewhere else, as fast as they can possibly get theres.  But the cleanliness of the city communicates more of a respect than was previously felt.

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~ by tgrantphoto on December 24, 2009.

One Response to “Day 2”

  1. How is the food? Is this raw fish?

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