I felt very privileged today. I have never lived through war, famine, poverty or bore witness to it directly except for my participation in paying taxes which has directly or indirectly affected and funded other governments and people’s.
Today I visited the Cu Chi tunnels. Originally a village not far from Saigon where guerrillas (locals) aided the Vietnamese military against the Americans. The tunnels at its height stretched from Saigon to Cambodia.
The tunnels were used to hide from Americans while they were bombing. I went in one tunnel to get a feel for what it was like to be underground and it was very uncomfortable to say the least. To be in the dark for hours or days, crawling on your hands and knees. The systems were complex and deep. I am told people stayed underground for several years, but that doesn’t make sense to me because I thought they were temporary shelters.
Pictures from Cu Chi (traps for American military, a tourist in the lookout, tunnels) and one photo of the Vietnamese military (navy). We were on a boat and they said we had to turn around because they were conducting military exercises.
I have to admit, Vietnam has not been very welcoming to me. The response from people when they learn I am American is one of resentment. The anger is because I am American and Chinese American. The Vietnamese do not have good relations with China. The hostility is in their eyes, their response, body language and intonation. It makes me wonder, with that logic, why are they not mad with the French?
In fun news, I met for the first time someone from Norway and girls from Indonesia. I am sitting in Saigon in a very air conditioned coffee shop sipping a iced green tea latte. It is winter in Vietnam but the humidity and the heat are melting me. Tomorrow the war museum, lunch, them to Bangkok, Thailand.