Cu Chi Tunnels


There were two things which unnerved me during my visit to Vietnam recently. One was the “War Remnants Museum” in Ho Chi Minh City – everyone should see this Museum which is a remarkable display of the atrocities of War, the huge damage caused to human population, the recurring pains through generations, and the frivolousness of military decision-making.

The other place is the Cu Chi Tunnels, some couple of hours away from Ho Chi Minh City. This place is a huge tribute to human endurance, tenacity, grit and determination – I do not know how best to describe this place. I was told some 250 Kms of tunnels are existent at this place in which the Vietnamese people survived during the war with rather creative mechanisms to live through the ordeal which raged on for many, many years.

The government has sanitized the place and opened up some of the tunnels to the tourists, but I guess they enlarged the tunnels to let big sized folks to get through – it is probably a fact that the actual tunnels were smaller in height and more difficult to manueuver.

I went through only one of the “tourist tunnels”, and found it very difficult to squat, bend, and scrap through. It was pitch dark in most places, and there is no way one can turn back and escape as there was a steady stream of people coming in…….some people may get a “panic attack” while just getting through some 40 metres of these tunnels.

I do not know how the Vietnamese people survived in these tunnels, but I salute them.

I took some pics, but these pics do not capture what I saw and felt during the visit. It is for you to make it a point to visit these tunnels (as well as the Museum I referred to at the beginning of this post). I also fired a few rounds using a AK-47 rifle at the firing grounds which are part of this tunnel area – I did not feel anything, except mild recoil, and no sense of goodness.

Take a look at the pics below:

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Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan
13th July 2014

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