Down the foxhole
The first 50km of tunnels at Cu Chi were first built in the late 40s by Vietnamese soldiers fighting the French. They were reused and expanded a further 200km by the Viet Cong in the 60s. They were strategically placed near Saigon, near the Cambodian border, next to the Saigon river, and in an area where the soil has a lot of clay. There are 3 levels, getting progressively smaller: soldiers spent most of their time in the first level, but went down to level two during bombings (about 50km of tunnel was destroyed during the Vietnam war). Level three was purely for escape routes, some ending up near the river.
The tour consists of visiting the site the Americans tried so hard to find. You see some of the bunker rooms (weapon factories, kitchens and infirmaries), replicas of the traps used to main patrols, and a real entrance to the tunnels (the entrances used by the tourists have been widened). Before going into the tunnels you can try your hand at shooting various weapons. We didn't try any but my hour's conversation in the bus with Lucas about war and how bad it is was completely undone by the adrenalin rush from hearing the clattering of an M30.
Esther, being still ill and not really into caves or tunnels, only had a peek in. The kids, being shorter than the tunnel ceiling, just walked around as if they owned the place. I tagged along behind crouching, sweating and dragging the camera along. When we came out we saw a film which didn't interest the kids much but in the same room was a model of the tunnels, which helped Lucas finally make sense of the whole layout.
Argh, forgot Aisha's sandals when we got off the bus!
The kids have been playing with the hotel owner's daughter a fair bit. Back at the hotel we were in time to take her to her weekend English school. The kids were thrilled to be visiting a proper school, and even joined the class for a few minutes.
Just read about the missing aeroplane from Malaysian Airlines. Not on it luckily (not planning on going to China) - it doesn't look good.
Lesson learnt today: make sure you are close to some nice toilets before drinking Vietnamese coffee.