First and foremost, Ho Chi Minh city has a population of about 10 million people. And 4 million Chinese.made motorcycles and scooters.
Ho Chi Minh, for those unfamiliar with the name, was the leader of the unified Vietnam after northern Communist troops won the war between north and south.
Ho Chi Minh retains god-like status. The people still refer to him as Uncle Ho.
The city itself used to be called Saigon until the invasion by northern Communist troops in April of 1975. Some here still call it that. Lots of hotels use the name Saigon. Saves getting new letterhead, I suppose.
Part of the day today was an excursion to Chu Chi tunnels. The tunnels themselves are only a part of the experience. A highlight of the excursion was a brief explanation of the use of the tunnels by an ex-Viet Cong (northern Communist) soldier.
The part of his talk included the fact that there is an ongoing program of finding and destroying unexploded ordnance and booby traps. He said that the current rate, it will likely be another decade of work.
As for the tunnels themselves, there usually 3 levels for hiding, storing everything from bombs to food to medical supplies.
Yes I did go in.
Hands and knees, hat touching the top of the cave, shoulders touching the sides…
Truthfully, it was about the most terrifying thing I have ever done.
But enough of that.
So far, Vietnam is a wildly colourful mix of traffic (traffic like you have never seen), noise, smells, every sense is overloaded.
It is truly unbelievable. More to come another time.
Tomorrow we’ll be boarding ship to start cruising the Mekong. If I can keep the blog updated, I will.