Tank 834… and George

We left our Sai Gon Hotel early to visit the Viet Cong Tunnel complex at Cu Chi. An extraordinary and extensive system of tunnels that existed literally under the feet of the Americans and that is now a centre for Tourists keen to understand more about the American War. It’s a fascinating morning, but unfortunately the area is not very photogenic – you end up with lots of pictures of dirt, trees and holes in the ground If you want to understand more, either visit, or remember that Google is your friend.

On the way back we pulled over for a photo stop at a rubber plantation.

Diagonal cuts are made in the rubber tree and the sap (rubber) drips down the attached cords…
… into a small bucket

Once back in Sai Gon, after a rather good lunch (because we do that sort of thing at Great Rail Journeys) we walked around central Sai Gon. The Notre Dame Cathedral was constructed next to the beautiful Post Office

Inside the Post Office

From there we moved on to the former Presidential Palace, now known as the Reunification Palace. History was made here on April 30th 1975 when Tank 834 of the North Vietnamese Army crashed through the main gates Commanded by Bui Quand Than the T54 tank had earlier got lost during the advance into the city and ended up at the Sai Gon Zoo. They stopped to ask an elderly lady on a moped for directions, and she (bravely) told them to **** Off! She changed her mind when they pointed a lot of guns at her, and the tank headed off to the Palace, arriving before anybody else. Having smashed through the gates, they ran inside and hung the National Flag from the second floor balcony, and the world suddenly knew that Vietnam was one country.

The gates were repaired…
The palace is still there…
… and so is Tank 834

We returned to the hotel just in time for a swim and Happy Hour (Rude not too, really) and then in the evening we had a dinner cruise on the Saigon river to view the city.

One of my clients caught me relaxing with our Local Guide, Tung

And finally… George

It was his 21st Birthday again today, and he had a pretty good time of it. Happy Birthday George

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