In 1948, the people in the Cu Chi district -the Viet Minh, start to build a vast network of interconnecting tunnels to help the poorly equipped peasant army against French imperialism.
These tunnels keep gorilla resistance fighters safe and hidden under the ground.
In 1968 the tunnels – competed by the Viet Cong (V.C), consists of thousands underground pathways link meeting rooms, dining rooms, kitchens and field hospitals to one another.
Like an underground village, all needs are met, including and manufacturing black durable cotton uniforms and sandals made from rubber.
Photos: black durable cotton uniforms and scarf and sandals being made from rubber.
Each tunnel is several stories deep with deep ventilation units hidden from view.
Photos: Air vents into tunnels
The tunnels and the people in them, are protected, by countess trapdoors.
Photos: trapdoors around tunnels
These trapdoors of ingenious designs capture and kill those who step upon them.
In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s the war – known locally as the American war, is at its peak.
The tunnels allow the Viet Cong, (V.C) to control the rural area less than 50 km from the capital of The Republic of Vietnam- Saigon, in the south and the Cambodian border, on the east.
Photo: Figures representing V.C gorilla fighters, during 1960- 1975 American War.
Note to self
Paul bless him, almost got stuck in one of the tunnels. I know because it was me who took the photo!
Guess he is a lot bigger than typical The Viet Cong!
While I hate war, I do admire the brave Viet Minh and VC people who lived, worked and fought here. The designs of the tunnels, built on many levels, are ingenious. Take the kitchens for example, the smoke from the cooking stoves, travels by a series of vents opening into a clearing, several feet away from the tunnel, thus making it impossible to locate the source of the fire from the air.
Photo : Cooking underground in Cu Chi tunnels. The location of smoke from cooking is several feet away from the tunnel. It is bearly visable under the leaves
Is that clever or what!!
A Sad note to self
In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when the American War was raging in throughout Vietnam, Northern Ireland is experiencing what is known locally as ‘The Troubles’.
At that time, I am a child living with my family in Limavady Road, just outside the city of Derry/ Londonderry in Northern Ireland. The British base is right behind our house and the American Base is just across the road. It is dangerous. We are Catholics living in a Protestant area. I know nothing of this danger. My parents can afford to send me and my brother to boarding schools in Sligo. My older brothers and sisters are in University in Dublin.
But what if in the 1970’s I am not Irish but American? My brother and I will still go school. But, University is very expensive in America. Perhaps, my father cannot afford to send both my two brothers and sister. My older brothers are 19 and 22 years old. I wonder what fate awaits them if they choose not to go to college. Will their names be put in a lottery? Will one or both of them be sent against their will, to a foreign, hot, humid country? Will they fight in a war that they do not understand? Who will they kill? A mother? A Father? A child? Will they stand on a trap door and be skewered alive in a shallow grave or worse?
Words fail me as I climb out of these Cu Chi tunnels.
I force myself back into the present.
It is 2015.
I am a tourist again.
We are traveling towards the next leg of our journey the magnificently beautiful Mekong Delta.