Sunday, March 16th, 2008, 10:42 pm

Last Thursday I went to the final meeting before I accompany the Friends of Danang group to Vietnam. We leave on the 28th and I’ve been looking over our itinerary and using a guide book to get an idea of what we’ll be seeing and doing. Our first day there (which is on March 30th, which gives you an idea of how temporally-effed up I’m going to be) involves a tour of the Cu Chi tunnel system, which were used by the Viet Cong (and Viet Minh) dating all the way back to 1948. From my Fodor’s guidebook:

"The width of the tunnel entry at ground level was 9in by 12in…(s)ome 40,000 Viet Cong were killed in the tunnels over the course of 10 years…the Viet Cong survived on cassava alone for up to three months at a time"

So…I shouldn’t bring my swimsuit, is that what you’re saying? Jesus.

Nine inches by twelve inches? Uh, let’s just say that I probably wouldn’t be able to squeeze into a hole that small. And indeed, the Fodor’s book generously says, "The (tunnels) are too narrow for most Westerners". Translated, this means that fat capitalist pigs (i.e. me) won’t have to worry about enduring extreme claustrophia whilst taking a merry jaunt through what must be some terrifyingly close quarters.

There’s a section of the complex where "visitors are invited to a firing range to try their hand with AK-47s or a revolver". A nice range of guns there–a revolver…or a Kalashnikov assault rifle. I’d probably need an AK-47 to hit the broad side of a barn (I’m a terrible shot) but I think I’ll give this part of the tour a pass.

Anyway, I was reading over that part of the schedule and I saw that we’ll be traveling around Cu Chi by cyclo, which are bicycle taxis. Yeah, I already feel bad for the poor bastard who has to push my fat ass around. Anyway, I saw that the tour was run by someone named "Rick Shaw", who I figured was some expat who showed foreign tourists the sights of the area. We’ll have various guides and translators with us from time to time, and I figured this Mr. Shaw was one of those who will help make our stay in country especially pleasant and educational.

It took me like five whole minutes before I realized that Rick Shaw actually refers to the goddam mode of transportation–you know, "rickshaw". Oy. I massaged my temples for fifteen seconds to get the blood flowing up there before I went back to reading the guidebook.

I’m getting excited about the trip, a change from the "what the hell am I DOING" stage I was in before. It isn’t THAT far. Just the other side of the planet is all.

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One Response to “Soooper…Geeeenius”

  1. Poker Cats Says:

    It’s really beautiful out that way. When I visited Danang, I met a Vietnamese guy who said he had worked for the U.S. Embassy and was still owed 3 weeks pay.

    The old royal palace at Hue was really neat and I loved Hoi An.

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