Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Vietnam - the Chu Chi Tunnels

Hot and humid the cycle seemed to last an eternity by this point I was in robotic mode - my feet just circled without a second thought.

Drenched in sweat we arried at the Chu Chi Tunnels. Originally set in a thriving rainforest the Americans shed all life from here with the use of chemical weapons - in particular Agent Orange. Without knowing this I thought I was in just another bland forest.

The architectural triumph of Chu Chi is immense - such a clever concept of 254 miles of tunnel beneath the surface offering protection, security and homes to thousands of displaced Vietnamese during the war. Traps, smole escapes, exits by water - hidden doors; 3 - 4 levels of depth, water, everything needed that helped them win the war.

These are very clever people who used their resources at hand coupled with medieval trapping techniques to outsmart the technology lead American army.

Today, little more than 100 miles of tunnels survive, with small sections further hollowed out for tourists to discover. We explored over 60 metres of tunnel to get an idea of waht it was like for the vietnamese. HOT, Sweaty, sticky, dirty, dark, tunnels with flying rats, in cramp conditions - it was amazing to see how anyone can live like this for a day - away from sunlight, let alone for years on end.

The resilient population continue to show their strength and how they work in numbers.