Thursday, April 29, 2010
INSIDE THE VIET CONG TUNNELS
So here I am in Cu Chi one of the 163 miles of tunnels north of Saigon that let the Viet Cong appear and vanish as if by magic and led to some of the fiercest bombing and defoliation in the war. It's weird down here. So come along for the tour. I guarantee you'll see more than the inside of my nose.
First of all note the tiny opening into the tunnel. You enter arms over your head and close the trap. As you can imagine, when it's properly in place it's impossible to see where it is. Poof! you've vanished.
The tunnels are very tight. Especially for Westerners. American forces going into the tunnels were known as the rat brigade -- Australian allies mostly as they were a bit smaller. You think this looks tight? Imagine what it feels like in the pitch black. I got a light only when the Vietnamese soldier in front of me turned to take my picture.
Breathing holes were masked by nature. This one is in a termite mound where such holes are perfectly normal. The mounds are everywhere.
And here I am standing in a B 52 bomb crater forty years after the bomb. Imagine how deep it would have been then. And picture the surroundings, wiped out by napalm and Agent Orange. What hell is war.
Next post, a total change of pace. We're off to Dalat, the Niagara Falls of Vietnam.