Muddy and Wet in Vinh Moc

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Today we got up at 5.30am to get the tour to the DMZ (De-Militarised Zone), the area between to the old North and South Vietnam. The bus arrived full of western tourists eager to see the places glorified in many a Hollywood movie. Our first stop was for breakfast, followed by the Hein Long Bridge. The bridge was replaced after the American War, as it crosses the Ben Hai River, basically dividing North and South Vietnam.

We then drove to the Vinh Moc Tunnels. These were amazing. About 200 people lived beneath the ground in the three levels of tunnel. We went into the tunnel entrance and were surprised at how small the tunnel was. All the westerners had to crouch down and as it was raining (hasn't stopped raining yet) water was dripping down from the ceiling, running down the tunnel walls. Most of the westerners ended up with mud on their shoulders and arms, from rubbing them against the walls and roof. They also had a maternity ward underground where 17 babies were born! The exits were on to Cua Tung Beach, designed so the sea breezes filled the tunnels with fresh air. The tunnels only once received a direct bomb hit but luckily the bomb didn't explode. How the villagers lived in these conditions was amazing. We then jumped into the bus to see The Rockpile. It was a huge hill where the US Army placed a watch and fire mission as it had a commanding view of the surrounding area.

Afterwards drove up a section of the Ho Chi Minh Trail and visited the site of the old Khe Sanh Combat Base. Meg was humming the old Cold Chisel classic as the bus drove up to the museum. This was where one of the bloodiest battles fought (it's now covered in coffee tree plantation!), as a distraction from the North Vietnamese Army's (NVA) Tet Offensive in the South. After around 70 days the NVA withdrew their forces and the US led forces supposedly won. The entire site was eventually flattened to the ground as the US forces withdrew. At the site there was an old rusting tank and both a Huey and Chinook helicopters. The photos in the museum were interesting (and a little biased towards the NVA, though understandingly), but the best read was in the visitor's book. The comments from both Vietnam Vets and some passionate American tourists was saddening and enlightening.

After the un-eventful bus ride back to Hue, down the infamous Highway 1, we decided to get our blog back up to date so we're both sitting here listening to Christmas carols on the radio while kids play online games around us. Tomorrow off to Saigon.
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