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Published: November 25th 2009
She had to stop at the store to get "a few things" before we left.
Visiting Tay Ninh Province
The three big reasons to visit Tay Ninh Province. Probably, the first on the list for most visitors is the Cu Chi tunnels. I visited those in 1992, which was before they were a big tourist draw. With Tom Mangold’s book The Tunnels of Cu Chi was published in 1986, the tunnels were known to the world. When Vietnam opened its doors to tourist people flocked to Tay Ninh to see them. I think I might have been in Tay Ninh Province one time during the war. I remember flying my Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Sydney Hazzard to a base of the 1st Infantry Division. After we landed Col Hazzard told me his meeting would last most of the day and why don’t you just go over to those barracks and get some rest. I found a barrack totally empty except for an old Vietnamese woman who was hired to clean up the place. While there, the base came under a mortar attack so the old women and I headed for a sandbag bunker. She could speak pretty good English, and I started visiting with her. One question I asked was: “Who is the most popular leader
in Vietnam: Nguyen Cao Ky(then President of South Vietnam) or Ho Chi Minh?” She answered: “Ho Chi Minh.” This woman owed her livelihood to the American side and gave that answer. Maybe that told us something.
The second reason to visit Tay Ninh province is Black Lady Mountain (Nui Ba Den).
This is a lone outcropping that raises 850m above the rice paddies. Trang’s family took me there. There are several interesting cave temples on the mountain that have served as a shrine for Khmer, Chams, Vietnamese and Chinese. There is a main temple complex and to hike up the mountain on a well developed path takes about 1.5 hours. To the summit and back takes about six hours. Huan’s mother and I are about the same age, so we all took the chair lift. You can also slide down the hill in a well developed toboggan ride. The whole area except for the actual Temple is more like Disneyland than a religious shrine.
If you are a real war buff you also might want to visit the tomb of General Trình Minh Thế. He was a quite famous Cao Dai General, who was assassinated May 3rd 1955. In Graham
Trang with the Insurance Lady
She has a policy that will pay for Sarah's college if Sarah is orphaned.
Greene’s book, “The Quiet American,” some of the assassinations blamed on the Viet Minh may had been the result of Thế's forces. He opposed both the Viet Minh and President Diem’s government. In 1954, United States military advisor Edward Lansdale negotiated with The and brought him on board for Diem’s government.
The third reason to visit Tay Ninh Province is the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh city.
We got there at a wrong time. The right time is when they have service. Their services are easy to remember, 6AM, 12Noon, 6PM and 12midnight. To introduce you to the Cao Dia I am going to quote from Dane’s blog. Dane is a person from the U.S.A who I think in a few words described the Cao Dia religion. His blog address is at the bottom of this blog entry. Don't overlook the videos he provided.
“We went on a fascinating tour of the Cao Dai Holy See in Tay Ninh, near Saigon. It's the center of a unique, syncretistic Vietnamese religion. It's fusion cuisine for the religious palate. They've essentially taken pieces of several major world religions (Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Roman Catholicism) and combined them to form an
At the Pharmacy
Getting medicine for Huan
incredibly colorful (literally) tapestry of faith and dogma. The church itself is incredible. It is built on a monumental scale and is a bazaar cathedral housing elaborate decorations, the most prominent of which is a giant eye dominating the main altar.
Their Saints include: Sun Yat-sen (the Chinese revolutionary and political leader), Victor Hugo (you know...Victor Hugo), and Nguyen Binh Khiem (Vietnamese administrator, educator, and poet). And they didn't forget everybody's favorite carpenter. Jesus is considered an enlightened Buddha and is also revered.
They've imitated the Catholic Church, not in a predilection for depicting their deities nailed to the woodwork, but in their governmental structure. They have a pope, cardinals, bishops, and priests.
They welcome visitors and are surprisingly tolerant of gawking tourists. The place was fascinating, the music was incredible, and it was what all religious services are, but rarely embrace - meditation, celebration, and communion, but above all, an incredible show.”
Dane’s ‘blog :Dane
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