Monday, October 10, 2011


Looking Cu Chi Tunnel

executive summary by darmansjah

A woman and her son and grandson resigned from the entrance tunnels of Cu Chi. They get canceled due to cringe.

Gunshots heard once in a while, sometimes sound like each other one after another, amid the silence of the forest atmosphere when in mid-September and I along with a number of foreign tourists up the path into the forest land base of former Vietcong guerrilla struggle in the hills of Cu Chi (read: ku ci), about 50 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City.

Gunshots were actually derived from the gun that fired! These weapons were captured from the United States Army in the Vietnam war. Kind of, among other things, the AK-27, M-16 and M-60. However, the weapons of course not fired by the Vietcong fighters, but by a group of other tourists who were given the opportunity to try the weapons at a firing range located at the forest edge.

Even so, the sound of gunfire was able to bring us into an atmosphere of war, described the eerie atmosphere as the first U.S. soldiers bypass the woods looking for Vietcong guerrillas hiding in tunnels underground in the woods.

Forests in this area is not as dense as many trees had been destroyed Submachine U.S. soldiers were fired upon, either from air or land, which runs the scorched earth tactics in the framework of operation "Cedar Falls" quell the Vietcong fighters in 1967. Multi division operation is to deploy more than 30,000 U.S. troops, but failed to break resistance Vietcong guerrillas who had the support of local people. In fact, on the contrary, the people of Vietnam defeated and driven out the superpower's army in 1975.

Interesting sights

Now, Cu Chi tunnels no longer be the basis of the struggle against the enemy Vietcong, but became one of the "base of the struggle" The Vietnamese government to bring in foreign tourists visiting the country, Uncle Ho is in the midst of a global competitive world of tourism. Cu Chi Tunnels popular with foreign tourists.
Morning in mid-September, I attended a half-day package tour to Cu Chi tunnels which was held one of the many local travel agencies that dot the Ho Chi Minh City. Also joined in this package a number of tourists from Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and several European countries.

Package price U.S. $ 4 per person. This price only covers the cost of transportation (air-conditioned bus) and the local tour guide, not including entrance fees to the Cu Chi tunnels for new 75,000 dong (about £ 60,000). Package price is much cheaper than the price of similar packages offered by the hotel. Depart at 08.30 am and returned at 14.30 noon.

The bus ride from the center of Ho Chi Minh City to Cu Chi district takes about one hour. We are guided by a local guide named Bin LEC, Vietnamese descent (mother)-Philippines (father), who claimed the former captain of South Vietnam Navy.

After watching a documentary on the Vietnam war and listen to oral information about the history and structure of Cu Chi tunnels in a bunker at the edge of the forest, we were immediately invited into the forest.

The original hole and "makeovers"

The tour guide suddenly stopped. "Look at that!" He said, pointing to the ground under the feet of a between us. The guide asked him a few steps away from where his feet. In the midst of our confusion, the guide crouched on the grass area that had trampled the man's feet and grabbed the "plot" of land.

"You see, this is a tunnel hole," he said with a smile and lifted the "plot" of grass that are already in smth. To grasp his hands.

"Wow!" We exclaimed almost in unison with awe. Why not amazement, "plot" of grass that covered a hole in the tunnel is really perfect camouflaged with grass in the surrounding area so we did not think a few minutes ago had set foot on the entrance to a tunnel. The tunnel is capable of withstanding loads of tanks and trucks that American troops cross the area without realizing there are underground tunnels Vietcong guerrillas.

The hole tunnel mouth is small, about 100 centimeters x 50 centimeters.

"This tunnel was built according to the posture that the Vietnamese people at that time was small and skinny. Now our own children, that his posture was different with us, amazed, it can enter holes as small as their parents, "said our tour guide with a grin, as he closed the hole.

He said, the hole was not for tourists, but simply to show that the original hole that still has not changed. For the purposes of the tourists, the Government of Vietnam has been making changes as well as improvements in several tunnels along several kilometers, among other steps, given the inlet and the tunnel widened steps to adjust your posture and Western people are given an electric lamp lighting spurious.

After about a quarter of an hour to go on bypass the the trees, we finally arrived at the location of tunnels that have been repaired for tourists can be entered.

"You are going to go into this tunnel one by one line please. I myself have often entered into this tunnel. So all of you who entered with escorted by one of my staff, "he said, showing a middle-aged man who had been already in the mouth of the tunnel. "I'll wait for you in a hole out there," he said, pointing toward a few hundred feet from where we stood.

Hole tunnels that have been "faces made" for the tourists is much wider than the hole that is still original. These inlets are the steps so that tourists do not need to mimic the way the Vietcong guerrillas who entered the tunnel to jump straight into the hole. Yet after the land down the steps, one must crouch or even crawl to get through the tunnel because the tunnel was widened just enough to squat or crawl for tourists has posture body Westerners.

The tunnel provided for tourists to explore this short distance with a choice of three exit holes. Largely out of the first hole only a few meters distance. Partly out of the second hole distance of about twenty yards. Only a few young people out of the third hole distance of about fifty yards.

However, there are also new entrants have backed out a few steps from the entrance because they could not stand or they cringe stuffy have to crawl in a dark tunnel which were given only minimal lighting (lamp 5 watts) at some point.

A souvenir of war

Along the road in the middle of the woods we go lay a number of dioramas depicting various activities of the Vietcong guerrillas, ranging from making weapons of steel wreckage until sawing gun powder mortar shells to be taken.

"The innocent and simple they were sawing the mortar. What happened? Friction saws they did it generate heat so as to make mortar exploded in front of him and harm themselves. Known, they were simple farmers. However, they quickly learned of the incident. Since the incident, then they use a dipper made of coconut shell to shed water to reduce heat caused by friction saws and finally managed to take gun powder without an explosion, "said our guide.

Also exhibited different types of traps is simple, but deadly, using media ranging from bamboo spears to spikes and sharp metal pieces. Trap shape also varied, ranging animal model to model trap door. Traps are made with the help of local people Vietcong. An Army tank captured from the United States are also exhibited here.

At the end of the end of the journey through the jungle of Cu Chi, there is a barracks building that showcased the typical souvenir items related to the Vietnam war, like the Vietcong guerrillas cloth cap decorated with a red star image, hat typical French colonial officials, and lighters are carved with the name -name platoon of U.S. troops who have operated in Vietnam. There is also commonly used footwear Vietcong guerrillas in the form of sandals made from rubber materials. These sandals are sold at 40000-50000 new dong (approx. IDR 40,000) dependent on large-small size slipper.

Not far from the barracks where the sale of souvenirs, there is a rifle range. On the field this shot guns tourists can use the spoils of war for shooting proficiency test.

For a single bullet fired, tourists are 25,000 new tariff dong (about IDR20.000). From here the sound of gunfire that we heard when going into the forest of Cu Chi was originated. (SN Wargatjie Journalists in Semarang)

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