Apr 162011

Let’s see….I have a few days of updating to do.  ah! So much has happened.

Friday the whole group met at 9am in the hotel lobby (we were still in Siagon then).  We also were introduced to Mr. Tuan (tune) and Mr. Khai (ky) who work for the Yellow Fields Tour company and are in charge of our bike route, etc. 

Mr. Khai took us on a tour of Siagon including the Reunifications Palace which was originally the President’s house.  It has been turned into a tourist attraction now where you can walk through and see all the offices, bedrooms, party rooms, conference rooms, welcoming rooms, etc…  Also the basement was a war station including lots of small rooms with tiny desks (and a TON of telephones) and radios.  Oh, and lots of maps of Vietnam.  The most interesting one I thought was a list of how many soldiers from each country were there for the Vietnam War during a specific time.  I don’t remember what year.  The U.S. was somewhere around 500,000+.

After this we walked around a small square for a half hour.  There was a beautiful church where two couples were getting wedding pictures taken.  Apparently it is tradition to take pictures together (all prettied up) about a month before the ceremony.  These women were gorgeous.  A few us sat down at a small cafe for some coffee.  Here they serve the coffee with a ton of sugar and ice.  I had a hazelnut coffee milkshake. mmmm  :)

There were a couple of kids there asking to wash our shoes for us.  So they convinced a couple people to give up their flipflops and they would run away and scrub your shoes down with a toothbrush and soapy water.  But of course they didn’t run away with your shoes without leaving you a replacement pair to wear in the meantime.  I mean, come on, that’s good service.  (I’m not sure why they weren’t in school, but I think the Vietnamese only go to school on half days and have off on Thursdays and Sundays.)

In the afternoon the group split off and my group went to the Cu Chi Tunnels where the Viet Cong lived.  The maze of tunnels is just incredible.  Our tour guide seemed rather unamused or uninterested with us, but by the end I think we all got used to each other and he was pretty funny.  There is a part of the tour where they let you shoot guns on a range.  He asked us “Do you want to Boom Boom??”  Of course, we had no idea what he was talking about until he showed us the rack of guns including but not limited to an AK-47, Carbine, and machine gun.  Four of us decided to share 10 bullets and we shot the gun.  ah!

We got to duck walk/crouched over through one section of the tunnels and it was extremely painful on the legs.  But totally worth it.  They told us that they expanded that portion of the tunnel by 1 meter to fit tourists through.  During the walk/crawl you could see connecting tunnels that were so small I’m not sure I could even make it through on my stomach.  And this is where they LIVED.  They cooked, ate, slepts, and fought the war from these tunnels.  It’s incredible to see.

After the tour we headed back and had our first real Vietnamese dinner with the whole group at Restaurant 19.  It was delicious!  A small group of us then went to a rooftop bar on the Rex Hotel and a drink…and some dancing.  Don’t worry…it’s been videotaped.  And it was totally worth it.  Steve is an amazing dancer. 




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