Last stop in Vietnam... Saigon
Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
86Trip End Apr 01, 2012
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We have a slightly more light hearted evening where we go for a few beers and try and work out the situation with the many Asian girls in bars talking to older Western men. We have since learned that usually the situation isn’t as bad as it looks, the girls are there for conversation and paid commission on beers sold. They can earn a fairly good living and practice English so although it seems strange to us, in a lot of cases there isn’t anything more dodgy happening. Saying that, we also did see a few Western odd balls walking about with pretty Asian girls but I’ll say nothing more about that. We spend the evening in the street bars, sitting on tiny plastic stools drinking beer literally on the street and watching the world go by, definitely one of our favourite spots for enjoying Asian city life
Next day we are on a trip to Cu Chi Tunnels, the tunnels used by the North Vietnamese to fight, live and hide in. The tunnels were originally constructed to fight the French and conveniently used for fighting the US. Of course as we know is normal in Vietnam, our tour included a stop at a shop for an opportunity to buy something. However this was an interesting stop as it was all traditional artwork produced by victims of Agent Orange. We would have liked to buy something to support the cause but unfortunately we preferred the work when it was half finished rather than high gloss finish. We then went on to a tour through the tunnel complex which showed us the various traps set up for the US soldiers, mostly in the way of pits and spikes (true Indiana Jones style) and this explained the difficulty the US had in winning the war on land (they didn’t have a chance) and so why they switched to such a heavy bombing campaign. At one point during the tour we were given the opportunity to shoot a AK-47 but declined – not sure I really understand the logic. Learning about the terrible atrocities of war does not make me want to go and shoot a gun but each to their own. The final part of the day was the opportunity to go in one of the tunnels that had been widened so Westerners can fit! Being only 100m long I didn’t think it would be difficult, off we went crouched over in tiny tunnels trying to move along, a lot of people bailed out at the first opportunity as it was pretty uncomfortable but we continued on and as there were less tourists you begin to get an idea about how it was to try and get about in the tunnels. I eventually bailed out (40m short of the 100m mark) as I was by myself, couldn’t see a thing and wasn’t entirely convinced that I would be able to squeeze through the next part of the tunnel.
In the evening we caught up with Ash (from our Halong Bay tour) and a girl that was staying at his hostel, went for dinner and then back to the street bar to watch the world go by and hear other stories of travelling in Vietnam.