Into the jungle we went. To the tourist attraction of the Cu Chi Tunnels. These are probably the biggest tourist attraction in the area. And yet, they are a must see in order to help understand a nation and their history.
Another early morning, 6.30 start with the full blaring market outside the window. Then we caught the bus, but didn’t have a receipt to prove we were meant to, so Sam and I got to do an early morning mile long run through the city back to the hotel (only to find that one of the guys with the bus company already had our receipt… I love running in ridiculous heat whilst dodging mopeds on the path)
But, we got there eventually. The jungle area is all ‘new’, there are bomb craters around the space everywhere. It’s difficult to describe really. It has a beauty to it because of the jungle greens, yet the history of the site and the scary traps make the whole place emotionally haunting.
I can see why so many soldiers came home but were still emotionally and mentally trapped there.
We had a chance to go through some of the Viet Cong tunnels, and these were widened for Western tourists… I was bent over double, they are apparently twice the size they once were. And whole villages of people moved completely underground. The darkness (even with the modern lights) is almost complete. The heat is stifling. The air is so hot, and muggy, and close. I have a video of us crouching through about 15m of tunnel, eventually I will put it up to try and show you what I mean about the dark and the size.
It has been said that nobody wins in a war. And here, no one did.
For all those soldiers who fought on both sides, for all those families that lost, and especially for my late Uncle Chuck, who was stationed out here, I can’t imagine fear and the loss. But the emotion is still here, that feeling you get when you know how important something is, when you feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, when you know things shouldn’t ever be forgotten. I know I won’t ever forget.
Have you been to the Cu Chi Tunnels? What were your thoughts about them? Should we make a tourist attraction out of such places? Does it help us to remember or is it disrespectful to those involved on both sides?