Sunday, February 7, 2010

temples and tunnels

Just a quick one for today - feeling a bit weary after only 2-3 hours sleep last night!! By a random chance of fate I got totally spoilt resulting in no sleep! While wandering the streets of HCMC last night at about 5.30 looking for other backpackers to meet I was asked by a Canadian guy if I had any hotel recommendations so brought him back to the place where I was staying to see if they had any rooms left which they did. We had a bit of a chat and i helped him bring his bags back from another hotel. Turns out he is a resident doing an elective exchange at Hoi An hospital for the past few weeks, in his last night in vietnam.

Anyway he invited me out to dinner to help use up the last of his money as he didn't want to exchange anything before he left (flight out at 6am) and ended up taking me to a nice vietnamese restaurant and then we chatted the majority of the night after that ie me having no sleep! i also learnt during this occasion that i loooove tiger beer!! yum yum :)

so, today I joined the Sinh bus company (considerably cheaper than my last few days!) on a 1 day tour of the cu-chi tunnels as well as the cai dai temple. which in hindsight i should have skipped the temple and done the half-day tunnels tour only. Ah well. next time!!

the temple was interesting - if not only for the religion itself but the conversations I had with one of the other guys on the bus - mario a self-professed atheist. Had some very interesting discussions with him over the day and at dinner with a group of us from the tour about religion and their thoughts on it. this particular religion is a combination of 4, i can't remember what they all were though apart from red was catholic. They all wore white and coloured arm bands which symbolised the different religions. Apparenty today is the last day that they go to the temple to worship - it is only one week during the year prior to the lunar new year (TET) which is next week. During the service, there were tourists by the bus-loads up on the balconies taking photos and obsering - makes you wonder what they are thinking and how on earth they would be able to concentrate on their worship with 300 people gawking on.. then again it also makes me think that isn't it awesome that we don't have to wait for a specific week or two in the entire year to be connected with God!

Then we drove to the cu chi tunnels. I would definitely recommend going here - the history alone is great, maybe erring a little on the side of propaganda at times. There is a historical documentary that you watch from the 1960s where you are introduced to the vietnamese war hero's (peasant girls from the cu chi village) who killed multiple american enemy soldiers. They then take you around various dig outs around the area where they show you how weapons were made, models of the traps they used to kill/severely injure the enemy and finally the tunnels themselves that you get to crawl through. They were bigger than I had expected actually - however we were frequently reminded that they had been expanded in size by 40% for tourists, and I think we were using the largest tunnel section as well. It makes you think about what a messed up crazy world we live in and hope that war is not a strong occurance during our lifetime.



Coming out of a hidey hole

I shot an AK47while I was there too...

off to da lat on the bus tomorrow!

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