Cu Chi Tunnels – Memories of Terror

Cu Chi Tunnel is one of the most historic places in Vietnam during the war. Now, it is a popular place visited by tourists and travelers all over the world. The tunnel is a 250 kilometer long that was built to hide and protect Vietnamese soldiers and civilians during the war. Imagine how they dug this down under and became a place for living, dining, meetings and fighting. It was like a spider web of tunnel so I think yung mga payat lang talaga yung kasya dito eh.

My Cu Chi Tunnel tour is booked by my hostel. A local travel agency picked me up by around 7AM. Our shuttle can fit about 20 people. I was one of the first travelers who were picked up.

It took less than 2 hours from the center of HCMC to Cu Chi. We stop over in a souvenir shop for about 20 minutes. It was a quick breather after a city ride. The souvenir shop has Vietnamese staff that were creating glasses, plates, mirrors, paintings and more. It was a short glimpse of Vietnamese living.

On our way to the tunnel, our guide submitted our tickets at the entrance office. We stayed in a one big group. The tunnel is now modernized so tourist can enter easily. We watched a short film on how the Vietnamese lived and survived inside the tunnels. After the film, our group headed to one of the numerous land mines. Vietnamese planted land mines in areas where their foes will pass by.

I was very privilege as our tour guide is one of the Vietnamese soldiers who fought in that battle. As he showed as the tunnel complex, he mentioned that he still have bombs shrapnel inside his body. He refused to take any surgery as he will not function well if the shrapnel will be taken out. The first is in his knees, if taken out he can’t ever walk at all. The second in near in his eyes, he will be blind. The last one is somewhere in his head as well and will result to brain damage once taken out.

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A survivor and our tour guide.

At that time, my thoughts were on this man. He suffered too much pain from this war. He was one the bravest man I ever met.

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Our tour guide is very strong until now.

The tunnel complex shows tunnel vents, different kind of traps, entry to tunnels and tanks. I found this place serene compared to the period of woes and gun shots. The entire area is filled with bamboo trees, exotic plants and beautiful flowers. It really describe that there will be happiness after all of the sadness.

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How soldiers hide in these narrow tunnels?

From my fear to never fit it inside a tunnel, I never get in. Maybe I don’t need to enter a tunnel at all just to experience a war. All we need is a heart to understand to respect other’s history. I admitted that I just wanted to see myself where Samantha Brown, my favorite travel guide, has been to. Yet, going in this place was more than like that.

A snack is prepared after the tour; our guide treated us some boiled cassavas with sugar and cups of tea. My body is exhausted as I haven’t gone too much sleep as well my heart and mind from the memories of war. Then rain fell. Ganda ng cue! Dramatic! Hahaha!

 

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