Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Vietnam, Cu Chi Tunnel

Traveling from Tay Ninh Province after lunch, we traveled to Cu Chi to visit Ben Dinh Underground Tunnel complex. I had goosebumps when I visit this place. It's like going into a different world. The air around here is heavy with nationalistic pride, where the soldiers carry themselves with a 'hard-to-explain' poise. The fact that the complex has been deemed as a national revolutionary relic in Vietnam's Anti-American resistance was hard to go unnoticed.

The security was really tight though; we were given a sticker each, to paste on our shirts at the entrance. The guide told us that the tunnels in the complex stretches up to more than 200 km to the Saigon River, but some tunnels have collapsed. The people, who built these tunnels, were the Vietcong - Vietnamese Communist. The tunnels were dug since 1948, when the Vietcong were fighting the French for independence. Later on, it was used to fight the Americans, who came to stop the South from falling into the hands of the Communists in the North.

Image taken from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/720577.stm

This is how the complex looks like; it consists of a network of tunnels and common areas. I wonder how people could live in these conditions. Is there enough ventilation and what if it rains? Wouldn't the ground be flooded with water?

We were brought to the "meeting room", which was a semi-underground hut, to watch a documentary.

It was quite dark in there. We sat at the back and I wasn't really listening to the documentary. I was more interested in the real structure itself. There were 4 tunnels found in the meeting room. Based on our itinerary, we will be able to experience crawling into one of the tunnels in the complex. So I was thinking maybe it was one of these tunnels.

This one was found directly behind where I was seated. The tunnel was pretty narrow and already I had some thoughts like what if I got stuck in the middle and could not come out. I was having all these wild thoughts in my head, it turned out that we were not going into any of these 4 tunnels.

This site was our first station. Apparently, the small underground pockets were commonly used to launch a surprise attack. For example, a Vietcong soldier sneaked an attack from behind the "enemies" and then quickly disappeared through the pocket. When the "enemies" turned their back, no Vietcong were in sight except the forest crickets laughing at them.

Is the guerilla form of fighting cowardice or brilliance? Take your pick.

There were many exhibits in this forest museum.

Vietcongs resting at the camp. They could be identified by the "Burberry" scarves worn around the neck.

These were some of the traps installed for any unsuspecting "enemies". 

Ant nests were placed in this pit and then covered with leaves.


The life firing range at Cu Chi, where we could fire some shots at some targets, with the guns used in the war.

This caught me by surprise. The exhibit here is fishing in the well. I really do not know any fishes living underground. Don't all fish live in water in the sea, pond, lake or river? There's one fish, which I know lives in the mud... Mudfish ...

Yes, I'm really ignorant about fishes. The fishes I help my mum cook comes from the market.

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