Robin's Adventures

Southeast Asia
Adventures in the Far East

Big City Blues

Traffic and electrical wires were two things that couldn't help but draw our attention.

Small Business Economy

In spite of all of the tall modern buildings in the city center, the rest of the city lagged seriously behind. There were many small family owned businesses with living quarters upstairs. In addition, there were many vendors who set up small stands along the street.

Crawl Space

The Cu Chi Tunnels were used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. The tunnels, which were about 75 miles long, were useful not only as a hiding place, but also as a supply line, living quarters for soldiers, and a place to store supplies.

Cu Chi Tunnels

In addition to the tunnels, there were also hiding holes. The soldier would get in, lower the camouflaged lid over his head, and then crouch down inside. The soldiers made natural looking markings on nearby trees to help them locate their hiding holes.

Special sandals were made for the soldiers with backwards soles (narrower heals and a wider front for the toes). When the troops walked and left footprints, it appeared that they were heading in a direction opposite their real course because the footprints were backwards.

In order to provide fresh air to the tunnels, ventilation shafts came to the surface and were disguised as termite mounds.

Man Traps

These traps that were used by the North Vietnamese in the Vietnam War were on display at the Cu Chi Tunnels. The orientation video shown to tourists when they arrived was filled with anti-American propaganda and talked about American atrocities during the war. Apparently, there were no atrocities on the part of the North Vietnamese...

Man Trap Video

Check out this video of a trap used by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War.

Emperor Jade Pagoda

This temple was built to revere the Jade Emperor, considered to be the supreme Taoist god. The main hall has an alter to the Jade Emperor and a place where people leave incense and other offerings. One of the other halls contains a variety of other deities which reward good works and punish evil deeds. There is also a wooden panel that shows what punishments wait for evil doers in each of the ten regions of Hell.

Quan Am Pagoda

The Quan Am Pagoda is a large Buddhist temple with many elaborate alters for making offerings.

On the Road

We noticed several people carrying dogs in cages on the backs of scooters. When I asked the guide, I was horrified to find that these were not pets, but rather the main course in someone's dinner.

We also noticed that there were shady areas with hammocks at regular intervals along the road. Apparently, these are "rest stops" and people will stop to buy a snack or a drink from a small business and then use their hammock to relax in the shade until they are ready to move on.

Binh Tay Market

Binh Tay Market is a huge conglomeration of overflowing market stalls that sell just about anything you can imagine. The market is so crowded with merchandise, that there are only small narrow aisles in between for you to make your way. Most of the goods are sold in bulk, so street vendors and shop keepers from all over the city come here to stock up on merchandise.