01.01.2016 - 01.01.2016 20 °C
Early, like 5.30 am, start. Having a chest cold, the body was not saying thank you at all. Anyway began the day with this
OpLa i.e fried eggs, french style bread and extras & coffee. Yum yum !!!!
met up again with a couple of older acquaintances . One has extraordinary stories of surviving the communist takeover of Hue and narrowly avoiding being massacred with 5000 others. No one seems to be sure how many young boarders he did save. Amazing stuff.
we headed north for the day. First stop was 1 hr and the furtherest 2hrs
First stop was LaVan, the Vietnamese National Marian shrine.
The place is huge. Several events during the year have 10's of thousands camping onsite for the weekend. In 2014 there were 300000 for some event. Apparently there are a couple of yearly 100000 events. Mostly camping. This time of the year is not good. A bit wet.
Today is the World day of Peace. Joined in the Chruch service with about 3000 others. At La Van there is a huge wall that remembers this and the thousands of Vietnamese martyrs. Very simple yet impressive, even though I've now seen it 6 or so times.
The original church has little remaining after being bombed by the Americans
but this is the dream replacement
and this is how far they've got. Must be worth a fortune.
From La Van we continued North and visited three communities. All very poor and often under water as the wet season progresses, but not yet. In previous years we have visited between tides or boated in. Lovely sites as one drives along.
Once again we meet the communities on the grounds of a Church. Today we had no harassment or sign of political police, although our vehicle did get pulled over by the traffic police.The site of a foreigner possibly stopped any corrupt practices this time. They are dispised locally because of their corrupt traffic management methods, especially with truckies.
Had a dancing group at one community - a female / male mixture, which is unusual. Is mostly the girls who are into the dancing.
Anyway, couple of interesting Churches like this one
and interesting people who are just so full of energy working with these communities. The respect was palpable. Just like this guy.
This guy was all the more interesting, because he lives with an Italian who built the Church that includes the equivalent of a 3 bedroom modern unit in Sydney with views like this, built into the roof of the church.
The church also has it's own crypt where the door is a 2m by 10cm stone wheel that rolls away to let you in. If you've been to any ancient type crypt in Italy, then this is what this guy has but. Over the top and all very Italian.
Then, to cater for some other group he is currently building a house. Not any house, though. One with a moat. Check the happy snap out.
The communities were very thankful for the New Years presents.
We concluded the day with a little meal that included a little red wine served in a very small and dainty tea cup. !!!! Oh the things to remember meals by.