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Crossing the border


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large_938978_14286090705864.jpgNo beach...Today we had the morning off! Which was nice, except thre was no beach...so we walked around in the nice garden the had near the hotel. After we slept in of course, nice to not have to wake up at 5.30 for a change. The garden was full of ponds and beautiful lowers. We saw several buterflies and heard some frogs but couldn't find them. The harbor was a bit too far a walk but we saw the boats from a distance.

Our next stop would be Vinh Moc tunnels, it was a bit like the (more well known) tunnels of Cu Chi tunnels close to Saigon. The guide told us these were a bit higher (but just as small) as those other tunnels. First there was a little tour to the point where we would go into the tunnels. We saw an airhole, a few trenches that had been used for resupplying the vietcng from the beach towards the inland troops, bomb craters because also this part was heavily bombed during the war, and a few bomb shelters.large_938978_14286090843000.jpg There were an estimated 90,000 throughout that entire area. It was explained these tunnels wwere not used by the vietcom to fight the war. In these tunnels families of nearby villages hid during the war to escape the bombings on their villages. The people lived underground for quite a few years, and it is said that there were no casualties from the bombings, because they were well protected in the tunnels.

We also saw a museum there, dedicated to the tunnels, we saw a layout of the tunnels, quite a few pictures and lots of material. Then we walked to the part we would go through. The first part was ok to do, there was a big stairs with uneven steps downwards, you had to watch your step because it was steep. It was warm and humid but it was ok. We walked past the little 2 by 2 rooms were families of 3 or 4 persons lived during that time, which was quite unbelievable, they even had guard posts and a materity room where 17 children were born in the period people hid there.large_938978_14286090124222.jpg

TIP; if you want to go in these tunels, do not be claustrophobic, or astmathic, or both. And if you're really tall i don't think it's great to do either.

The tunnels were really small, and about 160-165 cm high. Which is low for European standards, so most people walked crooked the entire time. The frst part as i said went downwards. It led us to the beach, or well a bit above with a view on the beach. We had to go back up in the tunnels after a quick photo stop, and then it went even more upwards because we would exit the tunnels at a different point. That last part was reall hard, it was humid, and warm, and it was a steep way up. I was glad to be out, i had the feeling i didn't have enough air and i wasn't the only one who felt that way.large_938978_14286097675459.jpgAnd then imagine 150 people living there...brrrr.I instantly decided i wouldn't go to the Cu Chi tunnels since those were even lower than these in Vinh Moc and with a higher temperature and humidity.

Next stop; the border. The line that parted North from South. There was (again) a war museum that showed several pictures of the DMZ (demilitarized zone), simply put the neutral zone between north and south.The area within 5km on either side of the border was declared to be a demilitarized zone. Troops of both governments were barred from this area.

After a quick look around we walked over Hien Luong Bridge,where the border was drawn on.large_938978_14286099649638.jpg We crossed it, with a great view over Ben Hai River. The original bridge was destroyed by -you guessed it- bombs, so they rebuild this one next to where the old one was. It was painted half blue and half yellow, to mark the border on the bridge. At the end there was a monument of a mother with a child, to remember the many families that were separated during the war.

After that we continued our trip to Hue, with a few stops. We arrived pretty late, around 9 pm. And since we had to get up early the next day, it was dinner and sleep afterwards.

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Posted by Astreia 17:00 Archived in Vietnam

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