Saigon

We left the boat in Mytho and took a bus to Ho Chi Min City (Saigon). Our bags were delivered to the hotel and we went to visit The Reunification Palace. The pac ace was the seat of government for South Vietnam. When Saigon fell and the tanks broke down the fence and entered the Palace the president and cabinet were waiting in the conference room to surrender. This building is now a museum and the capitol is in Hanoi. When the Vietnamese people speak of the war they refer to it as the American war. We have been told that in the early 50’s the people of vietnam asked eight times for American assistance and were ignored. When they fought for independence from the French we supported the French with weapons. The American war years later was an effort to stop the spread of communism which would not have been an issue had we responded to earlier requests for help.

Dinner was on our own. We have made friends with several women who are traveling single and spent the evening with them. We went to a small French restaurant that was owned by a young Vietnamese woman. The food was excellent. English translations can be entertaining. I had salmon and vegetables wrapped in oven, oven is aluminum foil. 2011 Asia SS 1105 to 1110 047

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2011 Asia SS 1105 to 1110 026 We could not get a taxi outside the restaurant so Mary directed us to the Sheraton hotel where she bought enough to earn us the use of the doorman who hailed us a taxi.

Saturday morning was an optional tour to the Cu Chi Tunnel. The NVA had an extensive tunnel network that aided their efforts in the war. The tunnels began during the war on independence and were extended during the American war. The Americans were aware of the tunnels and unable to penetrate them. The use of dogs was successful until theNVA began using chili powder along the trails. The dogs were soon neutralized by pain and fear. Flooding the tunnels did not work because the NVA built drains that returned the water to the river. Gas was not useful because they were able to seal off parts of the tunnel until the gas was neutralized. Humans were lowered into the tunnel but the death rate for “tunnel rats” was so high that program was discontinued. Agent Orange and extensive bombing had the greatest impact on the tunnels. Vent holes for the tunnels were disguised as termite hills and an extensive filtering system kept the smoke and cooking smells from reaching the surface. Booby traps were brutal, impaling American soldiers on bamboo spikes.

The afternoon trip was to the war museum… I was war weary and attempted to shop with Eileen and Mary. After lunch we grabbed a taxi and headed toward a crafts mall listed in the guide book. The surroundings looked dubious and no mall was in sight so we had the driver turn and around and return us to the hotel. The only thing we achieved was the biggest taxi fare of the trip.

The farewell dinner at the hotel was the worst meal of the trip.

Tonight the majority of the people leave for home, twenty of us are on to Hanoi.

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