The DMZzzzzzz

Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
Trip End Mar 15, 2007

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Thursday, June 1, 2006

Never one to care much for tours, and this one sure did little to change that outlook, but seeing no other (cheap) easy way of doing it I signed up for a tour of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) just north of Hue and where the heaviest fighting took place during the Vietnam War, or American War if your last name is Nguyen rather than Jones.

The tour, if it could even be called that, was nothing that special in the end with most of the time spent sitting on the bus being herded from sight to sight even though there was never much to see once we got there. The first sight was the rockpile, which is a hill the Americans used as a look out and consisted of nothing much more than that, a hill.

The next stop was at a point on the Ho Chi Minh trail which showed just how resourceful the Vietnamese were in constructing a two lane tarmac highway complete with near by road bridge.

Continuing on the tourist bandwagon we drove over to Khe Sanh Combat Base which was the site of a controversial siege during one of the bloodiest battles of the war. Standing here now though is a relatively serene picture of green hills and fields which they only way you would know anything took place is by the few pieces of American military equipment put on display and a small museum full of fairly interesting photographs actually but with propaganda-tastic captions such as "Americans running away in terror.", which was certainly a different slant giving that I'd not spoken to a single Vietnamese criticizing the Americans in any way (guess that's what governement funding does).

After a quick lunch we ploughed on to stop at a bridge across a river, hmmm, moving swiftly along we next came to the highlight of the tour that made the whole thing worthwhile, the Vinh Moc Tunnels. The tunnels were constructed as a shelter to protect the villagers who dug them from the heavy bombing and were filled with separate alcoves for different families and even a maternity ward where 17 babies were born. It was cramped enough with just our group squeezing down the narrow passages never mind thinking about actually living down there for years.
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