Cu Chi Tunnels / Chinatown

Trip Start Oct 12, 2006
Trip End Oct 31, 2006

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006
Cu Chi Tunnels / Chinatown

Dear Readers:

We leave the hotel this morning at 8:30am for a day of sightseeing at the Cu Chi Tunnels. The two who fell yesterday are resting at the hotel today. I am feeling fairly spunky, having achieved a record 9.5 hours of sleep the night before! Hooray!

The drive to the tunnels is about 2 hours. The guide shares a lot of information with us, and we entertain ourselves in a variety of ways (all hysterical but unprintable). It is clear that this guide the best of all we have had thus far, and he seems to enjoy being with us too.

The tunnels are absolutely amazing, and a must-see for anyone who comes to Vietnam. We get a special guide to the tunnels. He is tiny and fits in them easily. We, on the other hand, are large. We do not fit so well.

The tunnels enabled the Viet Cong to live underground, undetected by the American soldiers, and they were the means by which unimaginable pain and suffering was inflicted upon the occupying forces. Traps were set to impale the victim or immobilize them in some way so that they could easily be dispatched. Hidden covers enabled the Viet Cong to pop up and kill unsuspecting troops. There are meeting halls, hospitals, recovery rooms, living quarters, kitchens, and all manner of living spaces below the ground.

I have been here before, so I don't descend into the first tunnels with the group. I am chatting with the guide and everything seems to be going beautifully, and all of a sudden I hear loud, girlish screams, and most of the guys come hurtling back out the same way they went in. It seems that there are bats living in the tunnels, and one of the guys just got buzzed, scaring the living daylights out of them.

I descend into the next shaft. It is a really long one, and I do not remember having such difficulty getting through it before. I guess I must face the fact that I am getting old. It can only be navigated in a tight stoop that absolutely kills the leg muscles unless you are in good shape. Obviously I am not! I can barely stand by the time we are finished exploring the tunnels.

We nap and recover on the ride back to Saigon. After a delicious lunch we drive to Chinatown and stop at a huge market selling everything imaginable. I enjoy wandering around and taking photographs with some of my clients.

We arrive at the hotel by 4pm. I continue with my gift shopping and stop to get a haircut and manicure. A fabulous facial and cranial massage accompanies the shampooing process. I feel really pampered, and this is my first ever manicure in my life!

We have dinner tonight at the Rex Hotel. The dinner is accompanied by live folk music and dancing. Wandering back to our hotel we stop into a nearby gay bar. It is very trendy and upscale. Our bad boy busts some moves and takes off his shirt. The bar managers hustle over quickly and tell him he must put it back on. The performance was much better in Nha Trang, but I get some of this one on video.

Midnight now, and I want to follow last night's long sleep with another solid one, so it is off to bed. Photos will come later!

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