HCMC, Vietnam...and Cambodia

Vietnam Stories
Cambodia Stories
Feature Writing

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Although the authentic origins of the Cu Chi tunnels were barely recognizable beneath the kitschy attraction above, the snippets of history laced throughout the tour spoke for themselves. For thirty years and against two enemies the Vietnamese resistance laboriously burrowed some two hundred kilometers of tunnel through hard clay using only bamboo poles, woven baskets, and human grit. That alone would impress most members of the developed world, but the Viet Cong were not working in a vacuum. In addition to the brutal tropical conditions and rampant spread of malaria, the resistance constructed the tunnels while being hunted by the world's most powerful military. During later years of construction, two thousand pound bombs fell like confetti and tunnel rats infiltrated the network sealing off entrances and flushing the entrances with gas. However, despite these insurmountable odds, the tunnel residents did not retreat from their hellish lifestyle and drove the Americans right out of Saigon.

Daniel McKinnon -- University of Colorado, Boulder
Boulder, CO