Day 012 – Cu Chi tunnels and Cao Dai temple

2008/09/16 § Leave a comment


Cao Dai temple

Cao Dai temple

Today I have been visiting the curious temple at Cao Dai [1] where a rather new sect or religious confession holds their meetings and ceremonies. It is not really more bizarre than any other religion, just that they only started with it as recently as in the last century is cute. They have their own cult with their own blend of holy people and rituals. It is a great example of how the other religious cults like Christianity or Islam came into existence.

Less on the so called spiritual (or in my eyes humorous) side is Cu Chi, a place I visited in the afternoon. Cu Chi is the site where one can visit and experience the intricate tunnel system the Vietnamese built in order to defend themselves against the US Army. These tiny tunnels and the booty trap system used by the Vietnamese is an impressive reminder of an insane conflict and a demonstration why the US went home defeated and heavily battered.

However, the Vietnamese ingenuity was answered by American soldiers with horrifying brutality, whenever they got a chance to do so. It is hard to see how the Vietnamese people can forgive the horrific and inhumane treatment they had to endure. If they have done so, that is…

We got the chance to crawl through the claustrophobic tunnels. Being built for light weight Vietnamese and not for dozer sized Europeans it was a somewhat anxiety inducing trip. However, despite the rain today and a silly cold I have contracted somehow and somewhere (and in spite of me eating loads of healthy noodle soup), obviously it was an interesting day trip.

Oh yes! Watch out for the bumpy roads… I wonder how they manage to build them that bumpy. Must be harder than building smooth roads where you don´t damage the axle of your car, your head from smashing into the roof and your ass from falling of your seat. 😉

On the way there we got another lecture in poverty. Not as bad as some things I have seen in Cambodia though. In fact at times people sitting in front of their humble houses or laying in their hammocks while school children ride their bikes home, wearing neat uniforms gives an idyllic impression. However, once you answer the question “could I see myself live like that?”, negatively it is clear that the idyll might be imagined or at least deceiving.

It is insane which coincidences put us where we are and it is yet more incredible realizing how hard it is to change all that much by yourself. Tell these people that one can do whatever one puts his or her mind at and see what they tell you…

The tropical Saigon-rain is pouring down on our roof with a might as if there is no tomorrow. But dry and saturated I am and ready to sleep off my little cold now…almost a luxury problem compared to some who would take the cold if it included a full belly and a solid roof, I am sure…

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cao_dai

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