Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Vietnam 11/3/2010

We sailed up the Mekong Delta at 5am heading for Vietnam. Emma and I were on the open deck watching as land appeared on both sides of the ship. We were so curious about how deep the Mekong Delta was. It seemed like a narrow, shallow waterway and dirt kept washing up in the waves. This was very different then everywhere else we have been. We could see the Mekong Marketplace and people shopping by boat. It was exciting to watch.
For once I was not rushed to get off the ship, I had a SAS trip at 11:00am, so I was able to stay in my lounge chair and enjoy the scenery. I was still in amazement that a ship as large as ours was allowed up the Mekong Delta. The waves the MV Explorer was making were as tall as the shoreline trees.
My emotions were running crazy for some reason. I think it came down to knowing that other student’s parents were meeting them here and mine were not. This was the destination of the parent trip. As I sat in the dining hall, students were running around talking about seeing their parents and it made me miss my parents more then I had so far. I knew it was better this way because I could not imagine saying good-bye to them again.
Today was my tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels and I was not sure what to expect. It was an hour bus ride before we arrived where we were eating lunch. It was nice because I got to see some of Vietnam.

We were eating in these little huts along the water, it was a great experience however, the food was not good! Well, maybe it was good, but it was not what I would eat. We had no idea what we were being served; they just kept bringing plate after plate of food, with small portions on them. One of them I could identify was frog legs. Finally, the steamed rice arrives. I can live for a couple weeks on just rice, right? Oh wait, you do not just eat the rice, there is a soup to pour over the top. The problem was it had fish eyes in it! The next dish was three tiny pieces of pork on a stick, I used my chop sticks to pull a piece off and put it in my mouth. It was so tough I could not chew it up, let alone swallow it. As we headed back to the bus, crowds of people were trying to sell us things, they sounded just like the nail people in the United States.
Once we arrived at the Cu Chi Tunnels went straight into a bunker that was used as a dining hall in the Vietnam War. OMG! I do not think I have ever been that hot in my life! The decade old fans were only circulating the stagnant air we were producing. We were here to watch a movie about the Vietnam War. With as hot as I was I felt like I was in the war! Everything I have watched on the war was from our perspective; this was based on their perspective which made it interesting. As we climbed out of the bunker I could tell there was fresh air but it was still hot air!  The tour guide showed us a trap that they made to kill the Americans. It was a hole in the ground that had bamboo sticks in the hole with the ends pointing up. The ends that were pointing upward had been sharpened. There were over 50 in each of these traps. Then the Vietnamese placed a spinning top on the top of the hole. They put the grass back on top of it. That way when the Americans were walking through the forest they would not see the trap. They would step on the trap and they would fall into the hole, landing on the bamboo sticks. They would suffer to death in this hole.
It was really sad for me to see all of these different traps they created to kill us, but at the same time it was interesting to be viewing the war from their eyes. The original tunnels were so small! They had to widen them so Americans could fit through them. The tunnels were so small and I could barley move in them and these were the widen ones. They lived in these for months at a time.  At the end of the tour we were able to purchase bullets and shoot guns that were used in the war. I chose to shoot the M-16 3 times. Even if I had shot the exact gun in the United States it would have been a completely different experience. There was no instruction, not even protective earplugs or eyewear. Most definitely not like it would be done in America. There were the shells of the bullets flying all around. I was hiding behind a concrete wall because I was scared I was going to be hit by one of them or even loose an eye. Even with my fear, it was really cool to shoot the gun.
That night Emma, Leah, Ashley, Carren and I got dressed up and headed out to the Rex hotel. We heard there was a really good traditional restaurant.

During our meal there was a show with dancers.  After we finished eating, we headed to the night market. I really enjoyed the night market because there were so many knock offs, I was having a great time! I bought 4 pieces of luggage. I cannot wait to get home and use them.

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