So, before June this year, I really had no interest in seeing war tunnels. I mean these things are usually depressing and yes, educative but still, mostly depressing and I don’t know how much of an impact it has on getting to the global goal of world peace. Anyhow, I had my first experience in Ieper and really enjoyed it- it was moving to remember the soldiers, the freedom fighters- whether they were right or wrong and celebrate the patriotism! I was intrigued by the conditions, the strategies people applied and just the way things were done.
So in Vietnam going to CuChi was a no brainer- there was no way I was going to miss it. They are better preserved- well, they are younger, took over 27 years to make and thought they were tiny- even for the Vietnamese, they were very interesting and intriguing. Being able to fire the guns they used in the war was definitely a plus. All in all, a great way to go learn about the history.
En route to the tunnel, we went to the largest Cao Dai temple- a religion that really amazes me- it’s obviously a way of life but I am not sure how practical- I mean 4 times a day, one has to pray for 1.75 hours! That’s 7 hours, and it has to be at specified times so how one manages to pack in work and sleep, I am not sure. The other aspects are still ok- vegetarianism, need to marry etc are all aspects of Hinduism too so I get that but the forced 4 services a day is not something I understand… but each to their own. Personally, I would have rather gone to a smaller Cao Dai temple and used the time for something else than sitting in a bus that seemed to be a poor imitation of a roller-coaster ride.
I wish I could have done a private tour because the drive was very interesting- some awesome pictures- the Chinese fishing nets, the little boats on the river, the people in their hats working in the fields, along the roads and so many stills of life that make Vietnam so picturesque and interesting!
So post tunneling, post praying, post eating, we went for a walk to a community concert, to take in the sights and the sounds of the bustling city which so reminded me of smaller towns in India till we ended up in the Rooftop Bar in Sheraton- a gorgeous setting, the view of the city is awesome and the band they had there was absolutely amazing- one couldn’t tell they were cover-ups at all!!!
And ending up being chatted by 2 guys- a Canadian Vietnamese and an American-Japanese-African was pretty damn cool too- a great compliment to the system 😉 And hey- who doesn’t like being complimented….
Dec 23: Since I never got to publish the above post, I may as well keep babbling here… after Ho Chi Minh/ Saigon, after a whole day of business meetings, we headed on to what has been my highlight of the trip so far (bar being chatted up by 2 men in a space of 5 mins!)- a cruise in Halong Bay- seeing stalactites and stalagmites caves, kayaking in the serene sea, eating meals under the stars, waking up to the serene calm of nature, boating in bamboo boats and just enjoying conversations with other people… that’s the life and oh! cocktailing/ wining it up is all good too!! 🙂
One of the girls said something to me that’s definitely playing a bit on my head “Aap bahut badi galti kar rahe ho- yeh ladka aur aap pehchaan nahin rahe ho ki aap ek doosre se pyaar karte ho- aisee galti mat karo- yeh dosti bahut khoobsurat hei par pyaar aur bhee zyaada”- only someone who uses Urdu as their first language could come up with something as poetic as that 🙂
Offski nowski to explore Hanoi more… Merry Christmas peeps!