Day 10: Cu Chi

 

After Ryder gets a $2 haircut down the street, we head out to see the Cu Chi Tunnels.

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I will say this about Vietnam: it’s a very At Your Own Risk kind of country. In so many other places, I feel like the community is kind of watching children and looking after them with me. In Vietnam, it’s not that they don’t love children-on the contrary, it’s been a while since I’ve been to a country in which more positive attention was showered upon Ryder-but more that their own children live with a certain level of danger which I am not comfortable with, mainly due to the traffic. This tour we went on was not child friendly, but there was no one to warn me of that, because in Vietnam, to keep your children safe is up to you.

We walk through the forest in which the Vietnamese laid in wait to trap American soldiers.

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According to our guide, the Americans got involved in the war only for money. Because they wanted to take over China, and Vietnam would be a domino effect of sorts-once it was controlled, they could move on to her bigger neighbor. I believe the official position from America’s point of view is that they wanted to prevent the spread of communism-why though, is unclear to me. Our guide tells us no rancor was held against Americans-but that Nixon is still universally disliked.

The Vietnamese farmers who lived in this area didn’t have much. But they were resourceful. They carved out traps with sharp spikes from bamboo.

Cue another non-child-friendly moment: many of the traps are not blocked by a fence and are accessible to a running child. This is not the developed world. There are not signs warning people. Things like that shock me as a mom.

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Trap demonstrations

We climbed inside one of the tunnels. Ryder wanted to go too. It was easy for him. And easier, we were told, for the Vietnamese because they were good at squatting. The Americans, with their toilets, couldn’t handle getting around such small spaces.

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The saddest moment comes when we arrive at the firing range (!) Yes they allow you to shoot automatic weapons there for an additional fee. Naturally Ryder and I don’t do that portion, but we can still hear it. It is very loud, and Ryder starts to cry, probably in response to my own startled reaction. He is reassured because I buy him a toy airplane.

We watch a propaganda-esque film lauding the traits of the Vietnamese villagers who fought against the Americans, and then it is over.

We have pho for dinner next door, and to be perfectly honest, it can’t beat Pho Hoa in West Valley City, Utah.

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As soon as we walk into our hostel, the hostel owner’s son is awaiting him to play. He  is also 2 and leads Ryder to his room where loads of cars await.IMG_3427

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 364 awesome articles for us.

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