Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Thursday, 15 December 2011

They Built a Rubber Monk

Saigon Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

We got up today at 0500 to catch a flight out of Chang Mai to Bangkok. We then flew on Qatar Air to Saigon and landed at what we used to call Ton Son Nhut Air Force Base. It looks about the same except for the new terminal. The old bunkers for the fighters are still on the field and are covered with moss. One had a big yellow peace symbol.

The grassy area between runways brings back memories.

I landed here on a sunny day years ago. The crew left me on the plane alone and they all went to fill out paperwork. Helicopters landed and left bodies on the grass in front of the airplane. The soldiers must have been dead because they were bloody, still and unattended. I went for a walk. There was a warehouse with a tin roof and no walls. It is filled with aluminum coffins stacked five high. I thought about the procurement process and the casualty estimates going into this warehouse. There were big profits for a coffin company somewhere back in the mid-west. I estimated that the shed had 6,000 coffins waiting for occupants, about a five month supply at 400 a week.

This morning a drunk American wandered up and asked if we knew where his guest house was located. Drunk, tired and hopelessly lost in a big foreign city at 5:30 AM....poor guy.

We visited evem more temples yesterday in Chiang Mai. This one had a lot of elephants at one time, but someone has stolen most of them. The temple had 5,000 pounds of gold plating 700 years ago, but it's all gone missing sometime in the last 700 years..

and its 1,2,3 what are we fightin for?
don't ask me i don't give a dam, the next stop is Vietnam,
and its 5,6,7 open up the pearly gates.
Well there aint no time to wonder why
WHOPEE we're all gunna die.

In some temples you take off your shoes and walk in to find one or two very wise looking old monks lost in silent meditation. It's very intimidating until you realize that they are made out of rubber.

For our last night Bennett takes us to a traditional Thai dinner with Thai dancers. It's interesting, especially the hill dancers. The food is dumbed down and relatively bland for the tourists.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really enjoying revisiting Thailand and Vietnam with you. I lived in that part of the world as an English teacher in 2008-9 and really loved learning about the culture. Seeing new things through your eyes. Thanks