Crazy American Devils!
05/16/2008 - 05/16/2008 93 °F
On Friday, we took a full day excursion from Saigon north towards the border with Cambodia to the Cu Chi region. We stopped along the way and toured a crafts market that specialized in woodwork and lacquerware items. Some of the artistry involved is really quite beautiful.
We continued on to visit the Cao Dai Great Temple in the village of Long Hoa. Cao Daism is a combination of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and native Vietnamese spirituality. This is the largest temple in Vietnam and it's extremely colorful and ornate. We were lucky enough to be able to watch part of the prayer ceremony which they hold a few times each day.
After lunch, we arrived at a small village called Trang Bang. This is the site of the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. The tour started off with a mandatory video explaining how those "Crazy American Devils" bombed the countryside killing chickens, cows, women, children, and anything else that moved.
The tunnels are extremely elaborate and complex. They stretch for miles reaching all the way into Cambodia. Johnny, our cheerful tour guide, was more than happy to show us around the place. Here he is poking his head out of a hole that looked no larger than a shoe box...
Even though we ventured less than 100 feet into the tunnels, you couldn't help but to feel claustrophobic. It was pitch black and the person ahead of us kept using the flash on his camera so that we could see the way. As you venture deeper into the tunnels, they become very short and narrow. We had to squat and crawl most of the way.
Johnny also showed us a series of booby traps that were used by the VC during the war. These are VERY nasty and must have hurt like hell. I can't even imagine what it would feel like to get caught in one of these things. However, even with the events of the past, the Vietnamese people today are very friendly towards Americans.
As we drove back to Saigon, Johnny insisted on singing a number of different songs to us, including a very bad rendition of "Here Comes the Sun".
We met a lot of interesting people on the tour...one couple from Sweden, another from Spain, and a nice chap from the U.K. The gentleman from the U.K. has been traveling non-stop for the past six months. He's 62 years old and still going strong.
That's all for now. We'll post another entry in a few days.
Steve & Ann