Vietnam Day 9: Holysee Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels
7:32 am – Hopping on the back of a scooter early in the morning to drive through Saigon will really wake one up.
7:43 am – Pho Vit and some other stuff with Khoa and a friend.
8:20 am – Not usually being one for touristy attractions, I thought it would be really cool to check out one of the main sights outside of the city – the Cu Chi Tunnels. We bought a tour through our hotel.
10:31 am – First stop was a lacquer workshop. The workshop was built to give those affected by agent orange employment. They use eggshells to create art, then sell it at a high markup in shops.
12:32 pm – Went to see the HolySee Temple. The religion is called Cai Do and I believe it is some sort of mix between Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.
12:54 pm – The left eye is the sigil all over the temple. It symbolizes us being watched from the higher power or something like that. It is also the left eye because that is the side our heart is on.
1:10 pm – Watched the beginning of a Cai Do worship ceremony. The women enter from one side and the men on the other. Lots of singing and playing traditional music. Also lots of color.
3:15 pm – Finally made it to the Cu Chi tunnel area. Watched an intro propaganda movie about the use of the Cu Chi tunnels in the Vietnam War. Started with “Like a crazy bunch of devils, the Americans murdered women and children.” …
3:45 pm – The tour guide is taking us on a path to show all the different elements of the war. Giant bomb craters and tiger traps are all around us.
3:51 pm – The traps they used were quite scary and brutal. Originally made for animals, the Cu Chi people would set them up all over the jungle to trap soldiers.
4:07 pm – The tunnels were comprised of 3 layers. First layer to live in since it was closest to the air. Then a second and third layer to hide during bomb raids. The third layer also emptied into the Saigon river, for an underwater escape.
4:09 pm – The Cu Chi essentially live in these tunnels for 20 years. They are tiny and hot. I couldn’t imagine. But they are definitely highly effective at repelling and confusing invaders.
4:34 pm – The end of the Cu Chi tour has a series of war time guns set up for visitors to buy bullets and try out. This is the only place in Vietnam that civilians are allowed to shoot/handle guns. Hai and I used the M1 Garand. As someone who has never shot a real gun before, it packed quite the punch.
7:34 pm – Went out to dinner with Khoa at a Korean BBQ esque restaurant called Suon Cay. I asked him if he knew of any good drinking games, and he recommended spin the chicken head. Whoever the beak points to drinks…