Ho chi minh city (saigon)

February 26, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Posted in Vietnam | Leave a comment

Ho chi minh city (still called saigon by most locals), is a crazy city that is always busy. since we were there the week leading up to tet (chinese new year), the atmosphere was even more festive.

loads of flowers in the markets for tet, including these huge flower animals.

reunification palace – when saigon fell a northern vietnamese tank crashed through the gates (broadcast live to the world) and power was officially handed over to the north.

we visited the war remnants museum. Some amazing photography was exhibited here aswell as some information on the use of different weaponry used. The museum was obviously biased but was still interesting to see.

We also visited the Cu Chi tunnels – an underground tunnel system that the north vietnamese used as a hiding spot and hospital in the vietnam war. the tunnels also included some exhibits of a big tank and bamboo booby traps.

the north vietnemese used about 20 different bamboo traps to seriously injure their enemies; most involved getting speared in some way. the one below shows that the ground is on a see-saw type board that flips a person down into a pit full of spears.

the tunnels were amazing; there were three different levels of tunnels and we just went down to barely the second level. below you can see a tiny entrance into the tunnels. i volunteered to try it out.

very clautrophobic inside. the tunnels connected, but in some cases dead-ended. this small peep hole was used as a periscope of sorts so a soldier could pop up and get his bearings.

inside the first level – the tunnels weren’t too small. we had to crouch and it was very dark, hot and lacking oxygen.

the second level we briefly went through was even smaller – we had to crawl on our hands and knees. you supposedly have to crawl through the third level on your stomach, but it’s offlimits because you can’t breathe down there.

i thought the tunnels were going to be like sewer tunnels in the states, but they weren’t at all. there wasn’t any oxygen flow and the tunnels were carved right out of the ground. the walls and ceilings were dirt and clay; the high clay content is the only reason the tunnels don’t cave in.

we met up with my pal, Huy, a couple nights. he’s an art director that lives in vietnam. he took us to his fave restaurant, which was huge and hilarious. thanks for the hot pot and beans-in-a-glass Huyzel.

the only good burger in south east asia – we visited my mate’s  bar in central saigon, he dubs it ‘the bellybuster’

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