Amusement Park vs American War

Trip Start Feb 26, 2006
Trip End Sep 16, 2006

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Monday, May 29, 2006

This was one of the more surrealistic experiences of our travels to date.

We decided to go off the beaten tourist track a bit, which we were to find out is surprisingly difficult and expensive. You see, Vietnam has a well established backpacker route, with a network of "open date" tourist buses that will take you to every major tourist destination in the country from Saigon in the south to Hanoi in the north for about $25 (or about $2-5 per indivudual ride.) You simply make a reservation with a participating tour agency the day before and in the morning they pick you up from your hotel. Fantastic!

However Nui Ba Den (Black Lady Mountain) is not on the backpacker circuit. It is an obscure, small mountain back near the Cambodian border. However thirty years ago it was the scene of a huge and bloody battle, and one of my friends was unlucky enough to have experienced Black Lady Mountain first hand as a soldier in the 99th Infantry. The soldiers back then referred to it as "Black Virgin Mountain".

I came to Nui Ba Den for him-- to take some photos and movies and give him the opportunity to see with our eyes this place that changed his life.

What we saw was confounding, shocking, surreal-- and is best told through photos.

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