Vietnam – Day 3

We visited the main Cao Dai temple. Previously, this was a secretive religion until the Communists insisted that they open up. Now they even have an entrance for tourists!
However, Cao Daism is still very powerful and if you don’t agree with this religion, you can’t live in the area. There’s a story that someone actually skipped his ‘national service’ in the army by becoming a disciple.
You have to take your shoes off when you enter the temple. The caretakers were mostly old folks. They seemed harmless enough, but I had a nagging feeling in my heart that something didn’t make sense.
When we read the plaques at the entrance, we wondered how Sun Yat Sen and Victor Hugo became the disciples of Cao Dai’s founder. And, as I mentioned previously, how can monotheistic faiths be combined with other religions?
The huge ‘All-seeing eye’ globe at the end of the temple was also unnerving. It reminded me of one of those old retro fantasy games I used to play – Xanth. And to see a statue of my Lord Jesus standing in line, with Confucius and other Asian figures made me feel creepy. Also, some religions like Islam strictly forbid any forms of idols – so how could the temple have so many figurines?
We had ‘grass’ for lunch – spring rolls. Then we crawled into the Cuchi tunnels.
The army guide was a pleasant Vietnamese Soldier. We posed for photographs besides dummy female Viet Kongs, then watched a video. It presented the opposite view of the war, portraying the Americans as meddlers who destroyed the peace, shooting everything, even the ground.
There was plenty of weaponry on display. Lots of shrapnel, missiles and bombs. There even used to be a firing range!
The tunnels were a cleverly complex maze designed to frustrate the enemy. They were so dark and narrow that some others nearly got stuck. And these tunnels had already been widened for tourists!
In one tunnel, a bat flew past us. I just let it fly by – no point making it panic. However, the local girls behind me squealed. I am sure the Vietnamese female warriors were made of sterner stuff than that!