Sunday, December 12, 2004
This morning we went to the Co Chi tunnels-a network of over 200 kilometers of tunnel built by the VC. Interesting, and an impressive feat as it was all done by hand. Small and narrow and dark (we trundled thru some of them), not for the faint of heart. Or claustrophobic. Before getting there, however, we stopped at a graveyard for north Vietnamese soldiers killed. Rachelle badly wanted to ask our guide, Omar (said he worked with the marines near Danang), where they buried the fighters for south Vietnam and if they were praised as much as the northies since after all the war was all Vietnam against the US. She held off. Hm.
We also stopped in a grove of rubber trees, planted where the jungle had been burned and destroyed by US attacks. Interesting. A nice pee break.
Then the tunnels. The tour started with a background video. Or at least it's called that. It was a bunch of happy music showing people picnicking and picking fruit until the horrible Americans came in and forced the people in the area to build these tunnels. It said that. We discovered later that in fact tunnels existed before Americans were in Vietnam. They were built in the uprising against the French. Our guide told us this. Nicely omitted by the video. Overall it was another great bit of propaganda. I'm telling ya, listening to someone tell you that your country is the devil and horrible and mean and nasty and all that jazz gets old quick. Especially if you know the 'real' history as well as the history of the badmouthing country's govt. The others in our tour group kinda offered us sympathy and nervous laughs afterwards, which was nice.
On we went. They had a zoo (animals in small bare cages) and a shooting range. We deferred to shoot anything and walked past piles of metal (American bombs dropped here) and pictures showing the "Great American Killer Heroes" receiving accolades.
We did not continue with the tour to the War Museum (formerly the American War Crimes Museum).
Yeah, it'll be nice to get out of the big city and into the small places. Overall the people have been very nice to us, despite the bilge they must be learning in school. Rumor has it the people here have forgotten the war and think nothing of it. I hope so. Right now after seeing these sights we're having a tough time not feeling a little off kilter here. That should go away though. Hopefully.
Not sure what internet access will be like the next week or so. Enjoy the snow and cold!