ANOTHER TASTE OF AN OLD WAR
I arranged for a tour guide to take us to the Cu Chi Tunnels. I had never heard of them, but they are a network of tunnels built by local villagers. They were started after World War II as a protection and defense against the French. I came to realize there is a lot I have never understood about the reason for the Viet Nam War. 1) The Vietnamese (and Cambodian) people wanted to get out from under French rule because the French government imposed nearly impossible taxes on the people. 2) When talking about guerilla warfare, the guerillas were the local villagers who were trying to defend themselves against the Americans who had shown up and started bombing their villages and killing their people. And they came up with some pretty horrific ways to do so.
|American tank stopped by a land mine|
|More booby traps|
|Coming out of a tunnel which was made larger for the big tourists!|
Bombs that didn't explode provided ammunition for other booby traps.
A trip to the Hard Rock Café provided a chance for Hank & Linda to get their souvenirs. We had some nachos before setting out on a walking tour of the old Saigon area. Jim & I were here 8 years ago during our Asian cruise & Jim remembered the significant sites from the war. We eventually made our way back to the hotel.
|Bride & groom|
|Cathedral of Notre Dame|
|Hotel atrium from 19th floor|
|View of Ho Chi Minh City from hotel rooftop|
At 1700 we were picked up for our “Foodie Tour by Scooter”/a taste of Vietnamese food progressive dinner style. We were picked up by Tam Le (Hank’s driver), her sister, Jenny (my driver), her cousin (Jim’s driver), and a friend (Linda’s driver). The fitted us with our helmets and off we went.
At 1700 we were picked up for our “Foodie Tour by Scooter”/a taste of Vietnamese food progressive dinner style. We were picked up by Tam Le (Hank’s driver), her sister, Jenny (my driver), her cousin (Jim’s driver), and a friend (Linda’s driver). The fitted us with our helmets and off we went. Considering the fact there are over 3 million scooters in Ho Chi Min City, and driving is unlike anything in the USA, there was some significant apprehension as we started. There is no road rage in Asia (they put American drivers to shame). People are constantly merging into traffic and people slow down and/or swerve to allow them to do it. They will start out going the wrong direction in order to cross over into the other lane, and people move out of their way to let them do it. It is quite amazing, and we have never seen an accident! Our guides took us into another section of the city where tourists do not go. We had seven stops, the first of which was for some herbal tea.
Next was an appetizer,
followed by soup. At this point we were full, but Tam told us we had four more stops!
Vietnamese people are a tiny people (Tam told Hank she weighs 40 Kg). Most of the places we stopped at have child sized tables and chairs, which works fine for Vietnamese people. However, for taller (and heavier) Americans, getting down onto the chairs and then having to get up from them was cause for much laughter!
The main dish was grilled quail in a restaurant. There isn’t a lot of meat on them. They even eat the heads. Tam showed us how they do it, and I will let you guess which ONE of us followed suit! On the way back to the scooters we tried a glass of fresh sugar cane juice. Very sweet. By now everybody was having a great time and the apprehension had been replaced by an air of fun and fancy free!
Next stop was a street vendor who served stir fried sticky rice with sauce. It was pretty good, and we were getting fuller and fuller, and the little chairs were getting harder and harder to maneuver!
Another street vendor prepared clams and mussels. Jim and Tam downed all the clams. I helped with the mussels which I thought were really tasty. Linda and Hank bypassed both of them.