Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Cu Chi Tunnels

40 Km northwest of Saigon (HCMC) are the Cu Chi tunnels. The tunnels were used by the Viet Cong to hide supplies, hide from the Americans, and contained hospitals and living quarters.

Here's an entrance to the tunnelsPosted by Picasa

For some reason, a size 12 1/2 shoe is about the same size as the entrance. I don't think I'll fitPosted by Picasa

Another tunnel entrancePosted by Picasa

There was a section that was widened to fit the larger Western body size. I decided to take a pass on going in the tunnels. It was hot as hell, my eye was really bothering me, and I wasn't about to squeeze into a hole in the ground.Posted by Picasa

This is a cut away section of the tunnels. Posted by Picasa

The Viet Cong took unexploded US ordnance and used it for various booby traps. Posted by Picasa

A close up of the VC making booby traps in the tunnels. Posted by Picasa

Imagine that this is covered with more leaves. Looks like the jungle floor right? Posted by Picasa

Wrong! Posted by Picasa

This would just ruin your day. I can't imagine getting an arm or a leg caught in this. I forgot to ask whether this was put in the tunnels or in the jungle, but this would just suck.Posted by Picasa

Same with this one. Posted by Picasa

Or this one too. Posted by Picasa

More examples of booby traps. Posted by Picasa

Ouch, ouch, ouch. Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 30, 2006

War Remnants Museum - Part 2 (Con Dao Jail and a special surprise)

Sorry for the delay in getting these photos up. Of the two other parts of the War Remnants Museum (the abandoned and captured US military equipment and the anti war / pro Vietnam reunification struggle literature), I was able to see the infamous "Tiger Cages" of Con Dao Jail.

Con Dao is an island is found in the South China Sea 220 Km south of Ho Chi Minh City. Now a nature reserve, the island was formerly a French penal colony and used to imprison communists during the war.

The tiger cages kind of speak for them self. Even though the figure in the cage is a mannequin, it still made me a bit uncomfortable to look at. I'm not sure if this was the aim of the people that put together the museum, but if it was, then mission accomplished.

Finally, you see the gift of French colonial occupation, the guillotine. In my life, I never thought that I would see one of these up close. It was also pretty chilling to know that this was used to eliminate the communists during the war. The guillotine was last used in 1960 on Mr Hoang Le Kha, a member of the Provincial Committee of the Vietnamese workers Party in Tay Ninh province.

 Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa

Looks like it still would work Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Book Review

I think the last time I wrote a book report I was in grade school and I sure it wasn't that great a review. I go in spurts with my reading. Some months, I'm a voracious reader going through book after book; other times, I think usually during baseball season and the beginning of football season, the book I've started will gather dust until its not worth going out of the house.

I bought about four or five books at Asia Books in Bangkok which is one of my favorite book stores. They have a solid collection of fiction and non-fiction books by authors that base their novels in Southeast Asia like Jake Needham and David Young and a lot of books that cover local subjects. I always seem to find something there that peaks my interest. There were a couple books about the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam that I should have picked up my last time there. Oh well, I think I'll pick those up in April.

Another Quiet American Stories of Life in Laos written by Brett Dakin describes Brett's experiences in Laos from 1998 to 2000 as a language and marketing consultant at the National Tourism Authority for the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

I enjoyed the book and loved the stories about someone working to help a developing country and despite the bureaucracy. I think that the feeling of Southeast Asia was perfectly captured. I saw a lot of similarities in the Lao way and the Thai way of doing things and can't wait to see Laos for myself.

One other aspect of the book that I enjoyed were the stories of the Lao people the author encountered. These were and are hard working people worried about their futures and being able to provide for themselves and their families. Not too much different than anywhere else in the world.

I'll get to Part 2 of the War Remnants museum probably by the end of the week. It just takes a little time to get the photos up and arranged and I've been working on a couple other projects.

Friday, January 20, 2006

War Remnants Museum - Part 1

These are photos of the War Remnants museum in HCMC, Vietnam. It was a pure tourist trap and most exhibits in the museum showed articles and photos of the anti-war movement in the US during the war. This is just a few of the photos of US equipment on display. Tomorrow or Sunday, I'll put up the photos of the photos of the tiger cages that housed Vietnamese communists in Con Dao jail.

 Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa