Today we went to the Cu Chi Tunnel System. These tunnels are where the Vietnamese soldiers would set up camp in including infirmaries, dining halls, and living corridors. The tunnels are labyrinths, they were designed to trick the US soldiers if they were ever able to find them. They are hard to locate as the Vietnamese conceal them very well by covering them with leaves and dirt. We were taken to a hatch that was about a foot and a half wide and got to see the tunnels for ourselves. I was scared I wasn’t going to fit but I was barely able to squeeze by shoulders in. Once we were in the tunnels it was almost completely dark. I was impressed how big the rooms being that they were underground. It was even more impressive when they showed as that they dug these tunnels using a tool that was the equivalent of a gardening spade. When I walked through the tunnels I was so big that I couldn’t walk like everyone else. I had to hop through the tunnels to try to move and sometimes I just slid through them. In addition to being hidden on the surface, the Viet Cong made the tunnel system to confuse US soldiers and set up traps inside as well. There would be multiple pathways that would lead to traps such as spike pits or even explosives. In the documentary we watched, the Vietnamese government seemed like they were glorifying the tunnels and took much pride in the deaths of the US soldiers. They had a whole display with pictures made to show US soldiers falling into spike traps. The saying “history is written by the victors” applies here because the display encapsulates the pride of killing the US soldiers to make it look like we were the bad guys, which I’m not saying we weren’t. I think when we look back at history, there is not always a defined good guy vs bad guy. Both the US and Viet Cong were fighting what they found to be in their best interests. Even now, after Vietnam declared their independence the economy is skyrocketing and the culture is modernizing. We don’t know how much better or worse the country would’ve been if we had won the war, but it is hard to make the argument that things haven’t been getting better ever since. The young Vietnamese students I have met don’t seem to take a huge interest in the war. No one seems to hold a bias against Americans. At the VinaCapital tour it was stated that 93% of Vietnamese have a favorable opinion towards Americans.
After we explored the tunnels we had lunch along the riverside, it was a really nice view. Unfortunately, my table went hungry because we were all starving but there was not enough food. We then drove to a painting store where they sold Vietnamese paintings and various knick-knacks. They showed us the process to how they make the majority of their artwork which entails breaking eggshells, gluing them together, and painting them. I was really impressed with some of the artwork that was produced from eggshells.
Today happened to be Mother’s Day and my dad’s birthday and I was sad that I wasn’t able to spend it with them. Although I am way on the other side of the world, I hope you guys have a nice day if you’re reading this and I’ll see you guys next week!