June 24, 2005

dmz drudegry

well, at least we knew it wasn't going to be great going into it...

on our first day in hue, we booked a DMZ tour that was supposed to start at 6am and finish at 6pm. a really long day. when we went out drinking that night we heard from lots of people how boring the tour would actually be, and they were right. at least we were prepared.
we got up really early and a bit hung over thinking that we should probably try to cancel. in the end we went. what the tour is is actually 8 hours of sitting on a bus, 1.5 hours of sitting in the same resturant for breakfast and lunch, 1.5 hours of sitting at Khe Sanh, an hour of looking at the Vinh Moc tunnels. as it turns out, you go to Khe Sanh because half the people on the bus are actually going to Laos, and while you sit at Khe Sanh, the bus will drop them off at the border. of course Khe Sanh is already pretty far from Hue so you spend a long time driving there to see a tiny and mostly uninteresting museum. along the way the bus stopped a few times at the side of the road: once the guide said: "that's the rock pile. a famous american hilltop lookout, there is nothging there now." another time: "this is an ethnic villiage." another time: "this is a new bridge on the now paved over section of the Ho Chi Minh trail." not all that exciting.
really, the only thing worth seeing was the Vinh Moc Tunnels. the tunnels were pretty extensive and you got a chance to walk through a section of them. once they get below the surface you see how much work it must have taken to dig these tunnels 23 meters below the surface. pretty impressive.
of course, if you went to see just the tunnles it would have been a 6 hour trip instead of a whole day. in the end i wish we had just gone to Da Nang and organized a private tour. it would have been a much better use of our time.
needless to say we got a lot of reading done on the bus.
past that, i'll let ronda blog about all the strong feelings she had about the Khe Sanh museum. she got quite a bit rilled up by the descriptions, exhibits, and propaganda. (for reasons i still don't understand.)

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