Written by Tom
08/11/2008 - 10/11/2008 32 °C
We left the strange, 4 mile beach strip town of Mui Ne at midday on the 8th November (my birthday) with a hangover from the night before where we celebrated my birthday at midnight with beers and cocktails. It was a 5 hour bus ride to Ho Chi Minh (the commercial hub of Vietnam and previously known as Saigon).
When we arrived at the backpacker / traveller area of the City we went in search of a budget hotel. The place was like Hanoi in a way, with loads of scooters dashing around which meant crossing the road an interesting experience, eventually we found a room for $12 but it happened to be on the 6th floor of the guesthouse (no lift) so the air con was needed to cool us down everytime we got into the room.
Dinner on my birthday was interesting, having had noodles or rice for most meals for the last 4 weeks we fancied some Mexican food. It is never quite what you ask for out here in SE Asia but still tastes good. My enchilladas were fine but Coralie's fajitas had 4 small triangular crisps instead of a flour tortilla...(still it tasted fine).
The next day it was up early and off to see the Cu Chi Tunnels about an hour from Ho Chi Minh. These were the famous tunnels used by the Viet Cong (VC) to gradually wear down the Americans. They are a massive network of tunnels, usually three tunnels running one on top of the other, at 2m, 5m and 10m deep. The tunnels used to go all the way into Cambodia. The tunnel entrances were only 20cm by 30cm wide, only very small Vietnamese soldiers could fit in to them. Some of the tunnels had been widened to fit tourists into and you could venture into them for some 100m in the dark if you liked. It was so hot and claustrophobic and dark in there that Coralie & I only shamefully managed about 10m before exiting at some strategic exit point.
Also on show were some of the booby traps the VC would use to snare the American Troops landing by parachute or walking through the jungle. They were all simple traps but with pretty horrific outcomes.
Later that day it was back to Ho Chi Minh for some drinks and mooching about. We also booked our bus for the next day which would take us across the border and into the capital of Cambodia (Phom Penh) in about 5 hours (we were told...)!
Pictures for this entry will follow soon when we find a new camera memory card reader.