The drive to the tunnels from our hotel is approximately two hours. Along the way Linh tells us more of her compelling personal story. In summary, her father (a supporter of South Vietnam during the war) died when she was young. Her family was very poor, somewhat shunned due to her father’s support of the South, but worked hard and she was a good student learning some English. She took the exam for college and passed. Somehow her mother was able to provide a little money and convince the extended family to also contribute for her tuition. She rented a spot on the floor of a family’s kitchen for her housing, and often went hungry. She successfully graduated from the University, the first in her family to do so.
There is an exhibit of the various booby traps that the Viet Cong built. Unfortunately for many supporting South Vietnam, the booby traps were very effective inexpensive low tech which was commonly used.
After the tunnels we have a nice lunch and then relax during the drive back to Ho Chi Minh City. Back in the city we stop by Notre Dame Cathedral. Saigon’s Notre Dame Cathedral, built in the late 1880s by French colonists, borrowed most of it’s design from the iconic French landmark. It is one of the few remaining strongholds of Catholicism in the largely Buddhist Vietnam.
In the evening we have tickets to the A O Show at the Opera House. We arrive early for a short tour of the impressive 1898 building designed by French architect Eugene Ferret. Of course it has gone through extensive restoration, most recently in 1996-1998. We thoroughly enjoy the A O Show which tells the story of Vietnam through acrobatic acts and music.
After the show we have a delightful dinner at an Italian restaurant a few blocks away. On our way back to the hotel we pause by the illuminated statue of Ho Chi Minh in front of City Hall.