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Monday, February 13, 2012

The Cu Chi Tunnels and the sleeper bus

On Saturday we went to see the Ch Chi tunnels. Tunnels dug out by hand by the Vietnamese army during the Vietnamese war to hide and fight the American soldiers. We both had to admit these tunnels are very impressive. They go to 3 different levels underground and is a whole maze stored in the soldiers memory, they never created a map. There are hundreds of entrances to the tunnels that were about 30cm deep and 60cm wide, tiny, and were covered over by leaves so completely hidden  to anyone that didn't know where they were. These tunnels went 7km to the American soldier base but were so small the soldiers had to walk while squatting. There was an area of 100m that had been dug out to double the original size for tourists to go through, we couldn't believe it was double the size we were so squashed crawling through and it was hot and stuffy. The one we crawled through had exits every 20m so had a good air supply yet still it felt difficult to breathe, the real tunnels used during the war only had tiny oxygen holes disguised in termite mounds so the American soldiers couldn't discover them. Mister Al did the whole 100m but I came out at the exit 20m before the end because I was getting far too sweaty!

The whole trip was very biased but really interesting. It showed that as the Vietnamese had little money and sources for weapons how they used parts off bombs and grenades fired at them by the American soldiers to create their own weapons and set traps. It was incredible to imagine that these soldiers lived, cooked, went to the toilet in these tunnels for months at a time without seeing the outside and everything was so well thought out and planned that they couldn't be found. For example the cooking room deep under ground had a little tunnel above the stove area used to cook which went miles away from the actual tunnels and the holes where the smoke eventually escaped were tiny and scattered so they could never lead back to the actual cooking room. The tour was really interesting however the tour group was too big to enjoy and appreciate it to it's full level, we couldn't always hear or see what was being shown and the American family there were first in line to do and demonstrate everything so others didn't get much of a chance!

We got back to the city at about 3pm and had wanted to go and see the war museum but, and this sounds really stupid as we knew our way round the city really well after walking around the past 2 days, we couldn't find it! We were on the right street and from where the museum was marked on the map we walked past it numerous times but we both didn't see it. It didn't help much when we asked someone they just pointed in the general direction of where we had already been walking! So obviously we weren't meant to make that trip so instead I made a spur of the moment decision to get my hair cut. £3 for a wash and cut which is fine, I just got it neatened up and am really happy with the result, best £3 hair cut I'll ever have!! 

The next day, yesterday, we came to Nha Trang. It was a 11 hour bus ride but we paid a little bit extra for a sleeper bus. This seems to be only available in Vietnam as the sleeper buses in Thailand were just normal buses with a seat overnight. The ones in Vietnam though have little beds on them, 3 narrow rows of bunk beds so even though it's squashy and with me and mister Al being tall we touch the bottom part where you put your feet it means you can stretch out and nearly lie flat while on the bus. So, as we've had a lot of long bus journeys recently we treated ourselves to a sleeper bus during the day! It was another day of living off crisps and sweets and another restricted fluid intake as there was no toilet but at least it was a bit comfier.

So we reached Nha Trang at about 19:00 last night and were scouted by 2 motorbike taxis to go to a hotel for $10 a night (£8 for both of us). I didn't love the taxi ride to the hotel on the back of the bike with my bags and we were ripped off for the journey (we thought they did free transfers for the hotel) but the hotel is really nice. We're on the top floor and have a view over the city and of the beach. It reminds us a lot of Phuket in Thailand only minus the prostitutes and the beach is nicer. It's also starting to get a bit cooler as we travel up Vietnam, the daytime is still hot at about 28 degrees but it drops cool at night- for the first time in ages last night we slept without the fan on and under a duvet!! Plus it also means that it will be cool enough to actually blow dry my hair tomorrow night for our valentines day meal :).

We've spent today exploring around the area and topped our tans up a bit on the beach. Going for a run now, it's going to be nice as the air is getting cooler as it's getting into the evening. 

missing everyone lots at the moment. Lots of love xxxxxxxx

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