Friday, April 9, 2010

Phu My, Vietnam

In Phu My, we'd arranged a tour to visit the tunnels that were used by the forces fighting against the Americans during the Vietnam war.  For obvious reasons, I was unable to go, and so the photos were taken by Melissa.  My son Jesse joined his sister and me on the ship between Singapore and Hong Kong, and it was really great to see him.  His presence has made me miss my 'real' life even more, although this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as the cruise is drawing to an end.  And, I hope to get my cast off while we're in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on one of the two April 19ths we will have.

Ok -First, market pictures, because Melissa knows I like taking pictures of markets.

Now, the tunnels.  Here is the guide demonstrating how quickly and easily he could disappear into the jungle.

 Note in the first picture of the above series how small the opening is.  The Vietnamese are mostly small people.

This is Adam.  He's from Calgary, and is one of the few young people on board.  He is not very tall, but he is stocky and heavily-muscled.  At this point in the process, his feet were still dangling above the floor below him, but he was stock.
    Melissa was on a tour in South Korea with Adam and his Dad, Tony.  They told me there was a group of school kids at the same place.  The girls were very taken with Adam.  We've noticed that Asians are very interested in people who are different.  People often want to touch Melissa's hair, for example.  The local people usually want the pictures taken with foreigners, too, but the school girls were fascinated with Adam, reaching to touch his beard stubble and feel the muscles in his arms.  I guess in an area where most men are small-boned, and have very little body hair, foreigners can seem very different.

Jesse and Melissa did manage to get through.

Some entrances were more obvious, either because they were in safer areas, or to lure enemies into the tunnels.  Melissa said it was very interesting seeing this aspect of the war.  The people wanted to show their side of the experience, but were calm and non-confrontational, which would have taken some doing, because I suspect many of the Americans on the cruise still have a lot of anger and hurt pride.  There are Vietnam vets on board, but many of the cruisers chose not to get off in Vietnam (in part because of the dirt, garbage, and being forced to see poverty in action), or to take tours that took them to only shrines or shopping districts.  When asked, the Vietnamese guide said that the vast majority of people in his country don't want to think about the war or have no hard feelings.  Most people, of course, were born after it, and there was almost the impression given that the war hasn't made such a large imprint on the Vietnamese psyche as it has in the States. 

These men are dressed as the soldiers did during the war.  Below is a ventilation opening to the tunnel system.

  Here is a demonstration of making some traditional foods, the rice sheets in which other foods, meat and vegatables, would be rolled.
Below are some pictures of the area.

1 comment:

  1. It's great to see that Jesse was able to join you!
    Hope you are enjoying the last leg of this very incredible journey. We'll be glad to see you home and listen to many more of your observations and impressions,