Firing My First Gun in Cu Chi
Despite the fact that I was born and raised in America, the land that romanticizes guns more than anywhere else on Earth, I had never fired anything stronger than an air rifle before this trip.
There’s only one time that I’ve ever harbored the desire to fire a gun. I was 23 and had just been dumped. By text message.
“Please,” I sobbed over the phone to my friend Lisa, “Can’t we just go to a shooting range and fire some guns or something?”
“Kate, that is a great idea!” she squealed. “Let’s do it!”
For some reason, we never went through with it.
Until Cu Chi.
Cu Chi, located a few hours outside Saigon, was a major point of battle during the Vietnam War, and it was the home of a major Viet Cong base.
What makes Cu Chi unique is the tunnels underground – the Viet Cong would hide in them for months at a time. When you see how tiny they are, you’d be shocked that anyone could fit through them, let alone live in them!
The boys went in.
This is probably my favorite picture of Ste ever taken.
And then Mike and Ste actually got lost underground. They had no idea what happened – it just involved a wrong turn and a panicked, “It’s a f*cking dead end!”
Eventually, the boys made it out, mildly traumatized. A word to the wise: do not even think of doing this if you have even the slightest hint of claustrophobia.
Next, we were shown several homemade weapons, traps, equipment and tanks.
By now, I was used to hearing the pro-Vietnamese angle – but the two other American girls on the tour clearly were not. “Someone should really tell our guide there are Americans here,” one of them sniffed. “He’s being really rude.”
(My thoughts: B*tch, the Germans don’t whine when they go to Normandy!)
Then it was time to shoot some guns. We were charged $1-3 per bullet, depending on the gun, with a minimum of 10 bullets.
I chose the carbine rifle, since it was one of the smaller and cheaper ones. I had my noise-canceling earphones on and I grabbed the rifle, which was fastened to the table.
And then I fired my ten shots. POW! POW! POW!
The feeling? Not bad. Pretty cool, even. I won’t be rushing out to buy a gun – not now or ever – but I did feel like a badass for about two minutes.
I wouldn’t quite call myself Rambo…but if ever I need to fire a rifle again, please let it be while I’m wearing these short shorts.