HO CHI MINH
CITY (Saigon) My cyclo
driver suggested I go to the War Crimes Museum. It wasn't
set up as well as Auschwitz, but the photos were just as graphic.
It was so horrible to see. In fact, I didn't see it all.
I went to the gift shops instead -- which had the nicest selections
I'd seen anywhere in the country. I bought teak boxes.
The Jade Pagoda was so colorful
-- from what I could see. I'd never been to a pagoda so filled
with burning incense. It hung from the ceiling in coils.
It was in clusters in the hands of the devout. It burned in
urns and in my eyes. Funny thing, I actually began to like
the smell for the first time.
CHI TUNNELS, near Saigon
Don't listen to anyone who tells you that you need a guide to go
to the tunnels. You pay for one upon arrival anyway.
I never knew his name but he was a soldier and his father had served
as a Viet Cong soldier during the war. His English was good
and he gave quite an interesting tour. Still, I thought how
the world had changed when the son of a Viet Cong soldier gave tours
The tour started with a hidden
trap door. The Vietnamese people were small enough to slide
through it but Americans had difficulty. Much to my amazement,
I slid through it into the tunnel. Then, we walked through
a "mine field" to get to the tunnels. We would have
all been killed. We set off so many explosions. I would
have been so busy looking for trip wires that anyone could have
just shot me. I would not have survived that war.
When we actually got into
the tunnels, I had to remind myself that they were enlarged for
tours. It was cramped. Most places allowed walking on
all fours at best. Some places were more cramped. There
were three levels of tunnels and we went down to a second level.
It was hot. I was drenched in sweat. Anyone who built
those 200 kilometers of tunnels, lived in them for months, and crawled
through them was certainly determined enough to win the war.