Friday, July 03, 2009

# 2 The Black Echoes

Read the first part of the Tales of Saigon here.

That irritating sound won’t stop.

It just won’t stop bothering me.

258 was the number of days that I have been counting.

There it goes ... I heard the sound again, echoing in the tunnel.

I moved myself to the adjacent burrow. I can feel that it is coming towards my direction. Wait, something is not right here. From the back of my body.


Was I dead or did I just pass out in the dark? All I can feel is the numbness in my nerves.

I hate the sound of machine guns.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I grabbed the handle strongly, so strongly that I almost clutched myself to the seat right in front of me. The bus was rocking a hard way through the terribly uneven muddy path.

'The absorber is worn out.'

Again, my head hit high into ceiling of the bus as it runs over a huge crater on the road.

We joined a day tour to Cu Chi and Cao Dai for less than USD 7. For that price, I certainly didn't expect a long arse journey on the bus. I think my lungs, kidneys and stomachs sagged by 1.5cm after spending 5 hours travelling on the rocky road.

Our Bobby Chinn look-alike tour guide was very entertaining.

'Miss, whe du yeu kam frum?'


' land famous for robbers!'

Astounded by his reply, I found out later that he means ‘rubber’. Certainly one of the most interesting remarks in this journey.

The journey throughout Cu Chi was a remarkable one. I was particularly amazed by their perseverance and determination. Imagine a bunch of Viet Cong soldiers living in the dark, humid and claustrophobia-inducing underground. The American troop described the conditions within the tunnel as ‘black echoes’.

We did try to explore one of the sections of the tunnel that has been expanded to accommodate taller/ larger sized tourists.

It ain’t fun.

I was a fool to believe that the tunnel has been enlarged to accommodate the big size us. *imagining walking around the tunnel freely like visiting museum liddat*

Half way crawling through the tunnel (I almost laid flat on the floor and creep towards the end), I was sweating and screaming in my heart…the tunnel seems to be never ending. How did the Viet Cong soldiers manage to survive in the tunnel for 20 over years when I find the dark claustrophobic atmosphere unbearable for mere 2 seconds?

I am a true brat spoiled by modernity.

After the exploration, I found something amusing. I really wanted to try that real thing. At least once. The guy recommended M16, so I bought 10 bullets (USD 17) for that.

It still ain’t fun lorrrrr.

I was a fool to believe that ear muff works. The NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) is close to ‘0’. The impact of the shot was so powerful that every shot leaves my ear drum with a numb (wee wung wung…wee wung wung…) feeling.

Special thanks to Hairy for capturing all my retarded looking moments.

Food was more or less the same throughout the 3 days. Pho, Pho & more Pho(s) which I enjoyed thoroughly.

I’m glad that I insisted on trying out Nguyen Trung’s coffee on our last day despite the fact that we were supposed to rush to the airport.

We ordered “The Legend” which was nothing like the ordinary Starbucks cappuccino. The coffee was really strong and bold, definitely one of the highlights of my trip. *Love*

Later on when we return to SG, we found out that there is actually a branch located at Liang Court, Clark Quay. *Double Love*

My fave picture of all

For now, I’m more than happy to return to my comfort zone, happily munching on my routine subway ham and egg, surfing dumb websites, and crossing the road without the fear of being smashed by 58 motorbikes into a slab of tomato paste in the middle of the road.

Bar none, I still love you, Saigon.

Yellow stars missing in sight ...

-The end-


wmw said...

Looks and read like a great trip! ;o)

HairyBerry said...

Hairy said that u r welcome on the photos. very real what...

yeah, glad to have found the coffee la. better than highland's, me think.

ohhhh, cant wait for part 3. :)

Xiu Long Bao said...

It was quite fun albeit tiring. I was a zombie in the office for one whole week after returning from hcmc. Haha!

Yeah. Really gaya in the 1st photo, and then the 2nd...3rd...T_T
Still got pix for part 3 meh? :p

Extreme Power said...

I like the pho also. The soup is yummy. You shd try the Melbourne Mekong big bowl. Even Samu Hong and Jackie chan eat there. Add my blog to your rolls la. tks.

Jason said...

Very interesting encounter with the gun hor?? I wanna try too!

Simon Seow said...

I am not surprise later Malaysia will be famous for snatchers.

J said...

I know what you mean about those guns - so loud! :(

mdtan said...

wei, dun overdo on the bokeh of your pictures leh with that new cam of yours! :P

Precious Pea said...

Hello!!! How are you?? Nice catching up on your posts and glad you just had a wonderful trip. looks good in Saigon, maybe I should coax Hubby to give it a try.

Xiu Long Bao said...

extreme power:
Melbourne mekong big bowl? Sounds interesting. Wat's that?

Yeah. A really good experience. Go try it! But wear good ear muff ya.

I tot it is already famous for it :p

yeah. It would be more fun sans the noise n' impact :S

haha...pix not taken by me la. I have yet to post pix taken with my dslr. Need to practise more.

precious pea:
Hiya, hope you are doing great down south! I think Airasia flies there as well. Go HCMC! :)

Ninehitz said...

I juz back from Ho Chi Minh too..
full of history, this country..