What have we been doing?
We are continuing the Salsa dancing, have now “graduated” to the intermediate class. Not that we are great but we do at least know the basic steps.
I am continuing to explore the Sois. Last week I went to pick up some clothes I was having made, with a friend and she showed me the Wat with the solid gold Buddha. It is the largest Golden Buddha Image in the world and it is in Traimitwitthayaram Temple right on the edge of China town here in Bangkok. It is from the Sukhothai Period and is 700 years old. It was concealed in plaster so that the invading hoards would not steal it and was only discovered to be solid gold in 1955 when the plaster coating was damaged. It is 12 feet 5 inches around and 15ft high and weighs 5 tons!!!! It was an amazing sight in this small temple complex.
On Saturday we went downtown to The National Museum of Bangkok which dates back to 1874 and 1926 in its present location. It has some beautiful objects some of which are very dirty and dusty which is a shame. It is not airconditioned which means a lot of dirt gets into the exhibits. I am thinking of becoming a volunteer with this museum. If I did they teach you about the history of Thailand and then I would pass this information on to tour groups.
Our second day in Sai Gon we woke up early as we had booked to go on a tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels. These are situated about 70Km NW of HCMC and were used during the war.
These tunnels started out life as unlinked areas where the local people would store there food so that the French would not take it all and leave them to starve. But when the resistance to the war with America became more organised the people decided to link these tunnels together in a “Spiders Web” like structure. They had various levels and different functions, from emergency operating room (OR)to Weapon making room to school to kitchen(which had an elaborated chimney system so “no Smoke”). It was a fascinating morning being shown around the complex and seeing the B52 craters and how they make rice cakes and rice whiskey (not illegal in Viet Nam. It made the war seem very real and very tragic. In the afternoon we went to The Museum of Vietnamese History, because their is a lot more to Viet Nam than the last 60 years. The history can be traced back 10,000 years to The Primitive Period and forwards. It was an interesting museum and in some ways better than the one in Bangkok. They have a display of Water Puppets in this museum but we where unable to see them perform. These puppets evolved from the rice fields and are very rare today.
Later that afternoon we went shopping around the hotel area which proved to be expensive but I did pick up some carved wooden objects and some embroidery.