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Leaving Vietnam


Our tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels out side the city started at 8 am so we were up before hand and had time to grab some breakfast - and then hang about 20 minutes for our bus to show up... The entire drive there was spent, very sensibly, napping. The site is a section of hte tunnelsthat they have cleaned up and set up as 'real life' exhibits. You are taken around by a guide and get to watch an informative video with "american infidels' featuring. The cu chi people lived in the tunnell system for years so they had kitchens and eating areas as well as blacksmiths and armouries set up. To do this with out being seen and having light to see they dug large trenches/sunken areas with a roof on top and special contraptions to try to stop any smoke giving away the position. There was also a lovely display of their inventive traps and spikes to trap the americans as they moved through the area. Some of them were truely grusome.
With respect to the tunnels themselves, some have been widened for western visitors but even so its not easy to fit in - I at 5"4 had to crouch and crawl through the section we visited. I was also the only one of us girls to be able to get into the entrance way to the tunnels that hadn't been widend. However after dropping into a tiny hole in the ground and getting my shoulders in and crouching down with the lid on, i then couldnt get myself out as the hole was to narrow for me to be able to jump about in so had to get the guid to lift me out. Which coupled with Gene losing a shoe down there and the guide having to drop in left us all in giggles and so on we went to pose in/on a tank for photos.
We were then back on the bus and driven back to town, we got the bus to drop us near war remnants museum that we wanted to see as well as our time was limited and i have to say all in all it was an exhausting day. The most difficult for me was not the tiger cell cages used to house prisoners but the display by journalists of the time of their photos giving time and dates of death, some only 2 mintutes after taking photos. Equally shocking, as i didnt know anything about the Vietnam war, was the exhibition on the problems caused by the chemical warfare. Including maps and videos showing the extent and how it has affected children born after the war due to the impacts on the parents or its existance in the soil.

After all that feeling pretty exhasted we all headed home for food and sleeping and general chilling out.
The next day we were off again to a new city and a new country. Stepping up the pace so we could hurry on to Thailand for another full moon party, this time with all our new friends. We left vietnam as we had arrived, on a bus, but not as long a journey this time! The boarder crossing was interesting as well, the bus leader took everyone's passports and put them in, then the vietnamese customs had to read out the names for us to collect our passports... their pronuciation of some of our names was as hysterical to us as our attempts at their names must be to them.

Arriving in Cambodia even from Vietnam is truly interesting. There was our group of people, and a few others, maybe 15 of us and at least that many if not more taxi and hostel touts all desperate for us to use them and shouting or climbing over each other to get to us to the point where we couldnt get off the bus. Sending Leanne first we escaped out to collect our bags and decide where we were going and with who while Leanne hid round the corner in peace to have a smoke. Smoking is one of the only acceptable reasons for not being able to talk to the taxi men as soon as you step off the bus.
We settled on happy and lucky our drivers and the okay guest house and off we set. After deciding all the girls would jsut get a dorm room for a dollar as we filled it ourselves we arranged to have happy and lucky pick us up to take us on the trip to the killing fields and s21 the next day. That night we had dinner int he giant dining room of our hostel and then decided to go on a bar crawl along the street facing the river. It was halted in the second as we found a bar who would extend their happy hour for us (by now about 15 people having added a few more along the way). We attempted next to get into taxi's again and go to a club. There were two in Siem Reap, one of which is called called the heart of darkness, which is famous for having lots of rich kids and their minders and gun fights! However on the way our two taxi's got seperated and as we hadn't decided which one we were going to, after dropping someone off at home Leanne and I ended up in the heart of darkness alone! Never ones to be put off a good adventure we stayed to share a large chang beer and dance a bit then feeling tired and with no sign of minders, let alone gun fights, we set off home to discover everyone else arriving as they had been in a bar downt he street from the club with a swimming pool but also gotten tired and mindful of our full day the next day.
All that was left was the adventure to the one toilet/shower/outside cubical one at a time past the sleeping bodies through the guest house and then a good nights sleep!

Posted by eralc 16:12 Archived in Vietnam

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