Today I have another Vietnam Flashback for you. This one is was one of my favorite days in Vietnam. It was such an amazing experience and I feel so blessed to have experienced it. I hope you enjoy my entry.
22nd March 2012 (Weather was sunny)
Cu Chi Tunnels
Today was the day. I faced my fear of small confined spaces and being buried alive and have the most amount of adrenaline running through my body I ever had. Pure joy to pure fear in minutes.
After breakfast, we loaded into yet another car but the trip only last 30 minutes this time. We pulled up and had to walk down a winding dirt road towards the war grounds. Once we got there you could feel the eeriness. I wondered what horrors these lands had seen. We took a tour through some of the traps that the Vietcong used on our own soldiers. It was heartbreaking how horrifyingly violent they were. 2 meters pits full of bamboo spikes, doors that had swinging spikes that would impale anyone who entered. These soldiers not only dressed as civilians but used woman and children as living breathing human shields. A hollowed out tank that had been blown to bits was just sitting beside a bomb crater.
What came next I had been waiting for since Mum said it was an option when we were booking. The Shooting Range. I have never been around guns, let alone fired one. We spent $65.00AU on ammunition, chose our guns and headed for the range. The first gun I ever shot was an AK47. I only hit the target once but my god it was great. I have never felt anything like it. Then the big guns came out. Andrew went first and the look on his face and the light in his eyes said it all. M60 Machine Gun. I don’t remember the last time my cheeks hurt so much from smiling. The thrill. The power. My god. However, the adrenalin was soon taken over by crippling fear.
Andrew told me it lasted for 5 minutes but for me, it was a lifetime. Now was the time we heading under the ground and into the tunnels. During the war, the Vietcong used the 200Km tunnels to get around and escape our soldiers. These tunnels were at least 5 meters below the ground. Mum decided due to her own fear that she was not going. But I knew I had to do it. I would never get this chance again and I would live with the regret if I didn’t. Andrew and I followed the guide into the dark cavern. The opening had been enlarged for tourist. From the cavern, we had to get on our hands and knees and crawl even further into the earth crust. The ceiling stood about 1 meter high and 40cm wide. We only went 50 meters but I could feel everything falling around me. My chest was so tight and I could feel my hands shaking beneath me. We crawled in the pitch-black darkness for what seemed like hours. When I saw the light at the end I crawled for my life. I had made it out alive. My whole body was shaking when we emerged into the light of the sun.
All Andrew wanted was to go back and get a photo but I couldn’t do it. I had done it once and that was enough fear for one day. Looking back I am so glad I did it. No matter how I felt. I did it. I want to try as much as I can while we are here.
Live this life with no regrets.
From your fear braving underground traveler
I hope you enjoyed my flashback. There will be more to come over the days. Still planning our next holiday and my goodness it can not come soon enough. I really don’t want to wait until June 2016 to get on my next international flight. But I will have to. I loved re-reading this entry, it still gives me goosebumps thinking about those tunnels and what our soldiers went through so those in Vietnam can have the life they lead today. And I am so thankful that my amazing parents for planning such a wonderful experience.