Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Cu Chi Tunnels

Good Morning Vietnam!  We got up early yesterday to drive outside of Ho Chi Minh City to visit the Cu Chi tunnels.  Viet Cong guerillas dug this huge network of tunnels to wage war against the South Vietnamese and American soldiers.  Nearby is a firing range where visitors can shoot M16 and AK-47 rifles for about $1 a bullet.  The shooting was really popular, so gunfire echoed through the jungle the whole time we were there.  It helped give some sense of what things may have been like during the war.

There is about a 100-yard section of tunnels that visitors are allowed to crawl through.  Our guide told us that the tunnels for the visitors have been widened to double their original width and the ceilings raised a bit.  Even so, he warned us that the tunnels are extremely claustrophobic.  That was an understatement.  Sara crawled down and took one look past the first turn before backing out.  I was pretty happy with that decision because I didn't want to be trapped 10 feet underground, 50 yards from the nearest entrance, with Sara freaking out on me.  I already experienced her mild claustrophobia once inside a Zorb in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

After Sara backed out, it was my turn.  I turned on my headlamp and crawled past the first turn.  Immediately, I had to lower myself through a hole into a lower tunnel.  The lower tunnel continued for a good distance before I reached a third hole into an even lower tunnel.  The tunnel also began to narrow significantly from its already-small size at the beginning.  I was crawling the entire way.  Finally, the tunnel got so narrow that I barely could squeeze my shoulders through as I lay on my stomach.  The sweat was dripping down my face, and I had to force myself to slow down long enough for one picture of a fork in the road.  I was very relieved to see daylight as I reached the other end and promptly reported to Sara that, even though she was disappointed in herself, she made a very wise decision.

Sara dipping into an original tunnel entrance
David as he begins the crawl through the Cu Chi tunnels

A fork in the road in the Cu Chi tunnels

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