I find myself at the end of October wondering where the time has gone. We had a busy month that has left my monthly post a bit behind. While we get back in the swing of things I thought I would share the rest of our trip to Southeast Asia.
When we planned this trip we knew we wanted to fly one distance and make the return trip overland. We decided to fly from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City. We said good-bye to Thailand and headed to Vietnam. The visa process for Vietnam is relatively easy and there are many blogs about how to do that as a US citizen. I knew there would be lots of history there (which I love) and lots of scooters. Beyond that I didn't know much about Vietnam and I was ready to learn about it.
We AirBnB'd (can I make that a verb? I'm going to!) a great spot for us to stay that had a pool. It was close to a mall with a grocery store so we were able to grab food easily. It was a really nice facility, but a bit far from the center of Ho Chi Minh City. We took a taxi to the center of town and found a booking agency and booked some tours as soon as we got there since we didn't have a lot of time. High on my list was to visit the Cu Chi tunnels. We booked the tour and headed out.
The Cu Chi tunnels were interesting for the whole family. They are a series of tunnels that the Viet Cong dug during the American/Vietnam war. There are over 250 kilometers of tunnels complete with sleeping rooms, kitchens, ventilation, hospitals, work rooms, meeting rooms and of course toilets! The entrance to the tunnels were everywhere so they could quickly hide and get away from anyone and hide their tracks quickly. We had someone show us how quickly they could hide their track and it was about 30 seconds! It was fascinating to learn about the war in Vietnam. In Vietnam the war is called the War of American Aggression. It was good and educating to understand the other side of the war and how complicated and confusing it was. I am glad my kids were able to go visit and know it was definitely worth visiting.
We spent some time touring the city later that day and I met some older men who I was able to talk to about the war. I didn't know that Vietnam had been a French colony so I was surprised by all architecture and the huge churches and pretty gardens and open spaces throughout the city.
After we spent some time in the city we went on a tour of the Mekong Delta. It is an amazing water system that provides so much for the area. Since my husband is into water and is getting a PhD in it we had to visit all the things water. We took the 2 day tour that took us across the border into Cambodia. The tour took us up the Delta and we saw the Mekong and all the industries it provides along the way. We thought that we were going to take a boat all the way to Cambodia, but we ended up taking a bus from the Cambodian border to the capitol Phnom Penh. I was a bit disappointed by that, but we made it there by the afternoon.
Once we got to Phnom Phen we put our stuff away and went quickly to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. I knew that this would not be a happy museum, but I had so many Cambodian friends in California that had lived through the Khmer Rouge reign that I wanted to see this firsthand. It was sobering and sad but a reminder of the power, for good or bad, we have over each other. In the midst of the hard, horrific, and terrible, there are stories of beauty that were saved and the way the human spirit can survive and sometimes even thrive in the midst of intense adversity.
After Phenom Phen we headed to the coast hoping to have a relaxing vacation. Since it deserves its own post, I will leave you here! Thanks for reading!