Thursday, February 24, 2011
Thursday, Feb 24th, Saigon, last day of Vietnam Tour
Our last day on the Trails of Vietnam Tour took us to another key area of the Mekong Delta today. We began by driving to visit the temple of a relatively new religion in the country - Cao Dai, a syncretist Vietnamese religious movement with a strongly nationalist political character. Cao Dai draws upon ethical precepts from Confucianism, occult practices from Taoism, theories of karma and rebirth from Buddhism, and a hierarchical organization (including a pope) from Roman Catholicism. Its pantheon of saints includes such diverse figures as the Buddha, Confucius, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Pericles, Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, Victor Hugo, and Sun Yat-sen.
Plus, it's got great looking churches and a teriffic burial wagon.
We then got down a close to the Mekong by boarding a boat to be able to visit several major river enterprises on its banks. Brick-making, cocoanut growing and product distribution, and fishing were all explored. Lunch was delivered on an island getaway resort which pushed the limits of group transportation, and ended with a walk-in.
Returning to the hotel, we said goodbye to Duc and Quan after their long and dedicated service to the group. We will miss them, and we made plans to stay in touch. The rest of us had some free time, and took the time to make sure all of the arrangements for our homeward flights were in order. Our work includes another tour (Laos) before we depart for home.
This evening, we had a very nice dinner in a private room at the Palace Hotel, overlooking the waterfront lights. We toasted Bec, and thanked her for all of the great work that she and TravelIndochina has accomplished on the tour.
Tomorrow, as others head off to the airport, we're joining Marlene to take a daytrip by hydrofoil to Vung Tau, a beach resort north east of here. We're also trying to connect with Billy Thompson, Pat's cousin, who is traveling with his wife on a cruise ship which is coming into the Saigon Port tomorrow at noon. We hope to have dinner with them tomorrow night.
To see all of the photos taken today, click on: Thursday, Feb24th, Saigon, Last Day Of Vietnam Tour