Thursday, June 27, 2013

Peek-a-boo, I annihilate you!

After visiting museums that roundly chastised and demonised Americans, it was time to head out into the jungle to celebrate the achievements of local North Vietnamese heroes. There was still time for more American-bashing, to be honest.

When you strip away the horrific death and suffering angle, the Củ Chi tunnel system is really impressive, and even if the white-washed presentation of the People's Army and demonising of the American killers is a little suspect, it's probably fair considering the number of films and TV shows I must have sat through that characterised the sneaky Vietnamese as being 'one' with the jungle. Because there are no racist overtones there.

These guys had nothing but their wits and managed to drive out the world's greatest military superpower. So what if they might have sent a few kids armed with grenades on kamikaze runs into the enemy camp? Let's put all that behind us and play in some tunnels together.

Cao Đài Temple

The day trip took us to an unrelated temple first,
just to destroy the illusion of a coherent narrative

We got there in time for the colourful mass, but because Jackie's religion requires her to be intolerant of others, we waited outside

I can't see this being a major problem in our trips, it's not like nearly all tourist sights in Asia are religion-based or anything

I enjoyed inventing Illuminati connections in my head at least

Củ Chi Tunnels

Returning to our main feature, it was pretty exciting to visit this preserved relic of the Vietnam War (they have a different name for the war over here). Technically impressive and depressing, like an Opeth song, it was also admittedly fun to crawl around inside the small section of the 75-mile tunnel system they've opened to tourists and to completely fail to appreciate what it must have been like for the soldiers hiding in there for days on end, due to these tourist tunnels being widened significantly to accommodate your fat arse.

Obesity isn't much of a concern when you're surviving on a couple of portions of rice a day

Less hefty visitors are invited to try a real tunnel on for size

Sometimes the Americans got bored of searching for the tunnels and decided to drop some bombs instead. Lazy

This tank was stopped in its tracks by a mine 40 years ago.
No one's bothered to clear it away.

They've kept a few Wile E. Coyote style traps lying around the place too.
Probably best that you take a guided tour

Other assorted traps (sticking trap; clipping armpit trap; rolling trap; window trap; folding chair trap; forgot to take note of its name trap; door trap)

If you're a teenager or suffer from sexual anxiety,
you can pay to fire some real guns and feel like a man

I'm guessing these signs were put up after the war,
but maybe it was one of those gentleman's agreement things?

I've already demonstrated that I don't know enough about this sensitive subject matter to justify joking around. It was an interesting day out, alright?

"You will kill ten of us, we will kill one of you. But in the end, you will tire of it first"

- Hồ Chí Minh

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