Thursday, September 29 2016

VietNamNews

Tourists now use old wartime trail

Update: July, 09/2016 - 09:00
End of the trail: Virginia and Clive pose at the last milestone of the Hồ Chí Minh Trail in Chơn Thành - a small town on the outskirts of HCM City.
Viet Nam News

Once, people kept soldiers supplied with what they needed during wartime by carrying things along many paths.

Today, walkers and cyclists can travel in their footsteps along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

It passes through beautiful scenery in three countries.

They are Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam.

Virginia Morris is a security and defence analyst and author based in the UK. Her research specialty is asymmetric war and terrorism. Morris cycled the Hồ Chí Minh Trail with her husband and children in 2015. The trail is a thousand miles long and runs from Việt Nam through Laos and Cambodia. Her journey, which was later penned in a mini-series were published on Việt Nam New - Outlook magazine issues August, September and October last year won second prize of the national 2015 External Information Service Awards. Mrs. Morris shares with Việt Nam News some of the highlights of her journey. 

What was your motivation when you decided to take the Hồ Chí Minh Trail challenge?

My husband and I walked approximately 500 miles along the Hồ Chí Minh Trail in Laos in 1998-99. After that we always wanted to cycle the full Trail in Việt Nam and Laos, which is about 1,000 miles long. We still dreamed of this — even though we now have children — Bluebelle 6 and Albion 3. In April 2015 we achieved our wish and cycled hundreds of miles along the Trail as a family. In the future we want more people to do the Hồ Chí Minh Challenge.

So you explored the trials and learned about the lives of people who helped create the trails. What impressed you most?

The bravery of the people who operated along the Trail during the war: not only because of the war but also because of the heat and the shortage of water, food and medicine.

Please share with us some of your most memorable moments on the trails?

The Trail runs through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Việt Nam and Laos. I loved the forest, the striking mountains, the vast rivers and the remote feeling to the place. People were always happy to see our group and were very kind to us.

It was a long and challenging journey. Did you ever think of giving up? What kept you going and inspired you to finish the challenge?

 Our group faced many obstacles. The bike we brought from the UK broke on the flight over, but we got it fixed. It broke again, so we purchased a local one but it did not have gears. When the mountains grew too steep, we walked. When it was too hot during the day, we rode at 4am. Nothing stopped us from finishing because we were honoured to see this part of history.

It is quite possible that in the future many adventure-seekers will take on the Hồ Chí Minh Trail challenge. What would you like to say to them as somebody who has “been there, done that”?

 Do not just think of doing the Challenge – JUST DO IT. It will be one of the most amazing experiences of your life.

Is there a plan to revisit the country in the future or maybe another challenge to conquer? What other parts of Việt Nam would you like to see next?

I would like to revisit Việt Nam. But I do not know when. I have always wanted to see Điện Biên Phủ and to explore the historic site where the French empire imploded. — VNS

 

 

 

GLOSSARY

What was your motivation when you decided to take the Hồ Chí Minh Trail challenge?

Your motivation to do something is the force behind your behaviour as you set out to achieve your goal.

After that we always wanted to cycle the full Trail in Việt Nam and Laos, which is about 1,000 miles long.

Miles is a measurement of distance. A mile is a bit longer than a kilometre.

What impressed you most?

To feel impressed means to feel full of admiration and respect for something that is well done, or for someone who has done something very well.

The bravery of the people who operated along the Trail during the war: not only because of the war but also because of the heat and the shortage of water, food and medicine.

Bravery means courageous behaviour.

The Trail runs through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Việt Nam and Laos.

Landscapes are pieces of scenic countryside.

 I loved the forest, the striking mountains, the vast rivers and the remote feeling to the place.

Vast means huge.

What kept you going and inspired you to finish the challenge?

To be inspired means to want to do something positive.

Our group faced many obstacles.

Obstacles are difficulties that get in your way when you try to get something done.

It broke again, so we purchased a local one but it did not have gears.

Purchased means bought, which is the past tense of “buy”.

Is there a plan to revisit the country in the future or maybe another challenge to conquer?

To revisit a country means to visit that country again.

A challenge is a difficulty. To conquer a challenge means to get around that difficulty so that it stops being a problem.

I would like to revisit Việt Nam. But I do not know when. I have always wanted to see Điện Biên Phủ and to explore the historic site where the French empire imploded.

Imploded means collapsed by falling in on itself.

WORKSHEET

State whether the following sentences are true, or false:

  1. The Ho Chi Minh Trail is 500 miles long.
  2. Virginia Morris sometimes walked with her bicycle.
  3. France once ruled Viet Nam.
  4. Bikes bought in the UK (United Kingdom) never break.
  5. People who used what is now the Ho Chi Minh Trail during the war offered had to live with few medicines and little water.

ANSWERS:

© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. False; 2. True; 3. True; 4. False; 5. True.

 

 

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