March 11, 2002

    The ship was supposed to dock at Da Nang at 8am, but in reality, the reserved and confirmed dock was used by another ship and what was offerred to our ship was found too small. So our ship was anchored in the bay to carry passengers in the tender. However, the carpenter of the ship must create a couple of staircases to enable passengers to climb up from the tender to the pier. As the result we got ashore 2 hours later at 10am. Then began our 10 hour bus tour to the ancient capital Hue.

    The bus first passed the site of American bases north of Da Nang. We remember the name of Da Nang often mentioned in the news of Vietnam war. It was where Americans first landed. The bus climbed up a mountain named Mt. Hon Chay, up to the Hai Van (cloud) Pass of 1,219m, the highest in Vietnam. There were two kinds of strongholds at the pass, one kind built in bricks by an emperor, and the other kind in concrete by Americans. We drove down to a beautiful beach town and drove through laguna to Hue.

    The old walled city of Hue was built in 1804 - 1833 by the Nguyen Dynasty, which lasted from 1802 to 1945. There were rebuilt buildings of the forbidden palace within the inner wall. After everything was destroyed in wars leaving only the basements, buildings are being rebuilt one after another. The rebuilt portions were not especially attractive but glory in the past could be felt.

    Then we were taken to a Heavenly Lady Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River. Then we visited Mausoleum of Emperor Khai Dinh. The uppermost building after climbing many steps was beautiful with decoration with fractions of ceramics. We drove in the dark for 3.5 hours back to Da Nang, and took the tender to come back to the room as late as 9pm.

    According to our guide, Vietnamese used Chinese characters for expression of Vietnamese pronunciation since the 10th century. In the 17th century, Spanish missionaries taught Vietnamese to write in alphabets, but it had not prevailed much until 1945, when Vietnamese government abolished use of Chinese characters and started a campaign to teach alphabetic Vietnamese writing to everyone.

    Apparently, the ship staff must have prepared a birthday cake for me and expected me at the restaurant. But because we came back so late, the cake was placed in our room with glasses of champaign. Because it was too late for a dinner to our stomachs, we ate instant noodles for the first time, which we brought from Japan, and celebrated my birthday by ourselves.

 予定では8amにDa Nang港に接岸するはずだったが、予約した上に再確認してあった埠頭に他の船が入ってしまい、代わりに与えられた埠頭が短かすぎて危険と船が判断して沖に錨を下ろした。従って艀で岸に行くことになったが、埠頭が高いため船の大工さんが階段を製作した。岸についた艀から、階段を作り付けにしたもう1隻の艀経由で浮き台に移り、そこから別の階段で埠頭に上る道を作って老人でも安全に上陸できるようにした。この製作時間が掛かって2時間あまり遅れ、古都Hueを訪ねる10時間コースのバスの旅が10am過ぎに始まった。そのうちの7時間は往復のバスの時間だった。

 バスはDa Nangの北側の米軍基地の跡を通った。ベトナム戦争のニュースでDa Nangの名をよく聞いた。米軍が初めて上陸した場所だった。バスはHon Chay山を登り、ベトナムで一番高い1,219mのHai Van(雲)峠に上った。峠には2種類のトーチカがあって、一つは皇帝が作ったレンガ造りのもの、もうひとつは米軍が造ったコンクリートのものだった。銃眼から覗くと峠がよく見えた。峠から北側の美しい海岸の町に下り、砂嘴を通ってHueに着いた。途中トイレ休憩の店で面白いものを見つけた。米国のSilver dollarと共に明治3年とか7年とかの貿易銀を1個US$1で売っていたので、貿易銀を5つも買い込んだ。

 Hueの旧城壁市街は、1802 - 1945まで続いたNguyen王朝によって1804 - 1833年に建設された。The ancient capitalなどというが、江戸後期じゃないか。砲台の跡があった。外側の城壁の中の内側の城壁に囲まれて禁城と呼ばれた宮殿が再建されていた。戦乱で全てが破壊され土台だけになった後、一つずつ今再建されている。再建された部分は必ずしも特別に魅力的とは言えなかったが、過去の王朝の栄光は感じ取れた。

 Perfume Riverを見下ろす丘に立つHeavenly Lady Pagodaを見てから、Khai Dinh皇帝の霊廟を訪れた。長い階段を登った最上部にある建物は陶器のかけらで飾られて美しいものだった。暗くなった中をバスは3.5時間かけてDa Nangに戻り、艀で船に戻ったら既に9pmになっていた。



March 12, 2002

    Today was probably the first day with sunshine for hours since we left Tokyo. It has become very hot outside in the daytime. We walked around the walking course on the 11th and 12th decks for the first time for 40 minutes. Then we attended 3 lectures: sight-seeing lectures on Saigon and Bankok, and a more serious historical reflection of the Vietnam war by a TV caster. Vietnam war was a subject in which many Americans were interested, and the theater was much more crowded. The speaker said that US was wrong to have thought Vietnam as one of the communism-capitalism fronts but that Vietnamese actually wanted only sovereignty. A Marines veteran stationed in Vietnam claimed that the American forces were not allowed to win by politicians.  He was applauded.

    It was an informal evening. Shig wore a black business suits and a tie, and sue wore a gray skirt and a blackish sweater. We dined with Lory & Roanne Coplin again, and an Apple retiree Ray & Maxine Lubow. Shig thinks he must have met Ray in the past. Shig took a pasta dinner and Sue took venison, which is meat of deer.


 Informalの夕べだったので、重悳はビジネススーツにネクタイ、スミヱは灰色のスカートに黒いセータにした。一緒になったのは再びLory & Roanne Coplinと、Appleを引退したRay & Maxine Lubowだった。重悳はRayに過去会った気がする。重悳はパスタの夕食を、スミヱは鹿肉を食べた。

March 13, 2002

    When the day broke, Shig was surprised to see that the ship was sailing in a very narrow river with the width of probably 500m or so. It was Saigon River. Both sides of the river were very flat wild green dotted with cabins of probably fishermen. There were fishing boats, too. The sun rose from this green horizon. This way, the ship sailed upstream for about 3 hours finally to dock at Saigon. We were told that this was Saigon District in Ho Chi Minh City, which was in itself often called Saigon.

    We got off the ship and took a bus tour. After a 1 hour drive out of the city, we stopped by a village famous for making rice papers for domestic use and for export. Sue bought spoons and salad servers made of buffalo horns, which looked like turtle shell. After another 1 hour drive, we reached the wood of Cu Chi, where 200 km long tummel networks, dug out by Vietnamese guerrilla soldiers against French first and then American armies, were preserved. We were led deep into the wood. One tunnel about 20m long was first passed by several of our group. Of course we tried. Then another 50m tunnel passage much more difficult was offerred. Sue hesitated but Shig pushed her in. It was a dark long very narrow tunnel, tactically bent and with different depths connected via vertical shafts, in which one must walk with a very small stoop. Shig bumped at the ceiling at his head and back several times until we got out with dirt on the clothing. We found that digging a tunnel small was a very good tactics for Vietnamese, because they had an advantage of being smaller, and no enemy could fight in this narrow tunnel before being killed. Both Shig and Sue got stiff thighs. It was surprising that Vietnamese built this web of tunnels only 100km apart from Saigon, then the capital of South Vietnam. As many as 2 thousand soldiers were hiding there, to repeat attacks at night.

    Probably because this area was under control of Vietnamese army, there was also a live ammuniction firing range. Shig paid $5 to shoot 5 shots from M14 American guns, for the first time in his life. Shig felt his ear hard of hearing for a while.  An active lady in the group tried a machine gun for $10.

    We drove for another 1 hour west to Tay Ninh province where the central cathedral of Cao Daism was located. Cao Daism was initiated in 1925, allegedly integrating major religions of the world. The cathedral itself was magnificent but ugly, and a 2 hour drive both ways from Cu Chi was not rewarded. Strangely, Cao Daism has its own government and army. Since this army didn't fight with communist army, many young men believed in Cao Daism and were enlisted in Cao Dai rather than in South Vietnamese army.

    In the evening, all passengers who wanted was invited to The Rex Hotel in Saigon for a Vietnamese dinner with Vietnamese music and dances. We didn't find Vietnamese cuisine delicious. We were together with Gene & Betty McDavid again, Bill & Phyl Lyders again, and Medical Dr. Bill & Dorothy Allyn from the suburb of Cleveland, Ohio.

 夜が明けると、驚いたことに船は500mほどしかない非常に狭い川を遡っていた。Saigon河だ。両岸はまっ平らな緑の木々の世界で、漁夫のものと思われる小屋が所々に点在する。漁船もいる。この緑の地平線から日が昇った。こうして船は3時間も川を遡り、やっとSaigonに接岸した。1975年にSaigonがHo Chi Minh市と改名されてから久しいが、Ho Chi Minh市の方が近隣を含めて広範囲なため今もHo Chi Minh市の中にSaigon地区があり、そうでなくても人々は昔ながらSaigonと今でも呼んでいるそうだ。

下船してバスツアに参加した。町から1時間ほど西にドライブして中華料理などでよく見かけるRice Paper(生春巻の皮)を国内消費用だけでなく輸出までしているという村でトイレ休憩し、工程をつぶさに見学した。スミヱは水牛の角で作った一見べっ甲のようなサラダサーバとスプーンを買った。もう1時間ほどドライブしてCu Chiの森に着いた。非常に固い感じの地盤に当初はフランス軍に対して、次いで米軍に対して戦ったベトナムゲリラ兵士が、200kmを超えるトンネル網を掘ったのが保存され見学に供されている。森に深く入っていった。そういうトンネルの一部20mほどをくぐれる場所があって、一行のうち数人が入った。勿論我々も。次にもっと困難な50mのトンネルをくぐる機会があった。スミヱは躊躇したが重悳が無理に参加させた。暗くて非常に長い狭いトンネルで、わざと曲がり角が作ってあったり深さを変えて縦坑で接続されていたりする。全行程を小さく屈んで通らねばならない。重悳は数回天井に頭や背中をぶつけ、衣類に泥を付けて地上に出た。トンネルを小さく掘ることはベトナム人にとって非常にうまい戦術だ。そもそも体が小さいという利点があり、敵が入ってきてもこんな狭いトンネルでは戦えないうちに殺されてしまう。不自然に屈んだ姿勢で歩いたために重悳もスミヱも腿が痛くなってしまった。首都だったサイゴンから僅か100kmの所にこのようなトンネル網をベトナム人が掘っていたことは驚きである。2千人ほどの兵士がここに隠れ、夜毎攻撃を繰り返したそうだ。


再び1時間ほど西にドライブしてCao Dai教本山のあるTay Ninh郡に着いた。1925年に創建された新興宗教で、世界の主要宗教を統合した宗教だと言っている。本堂は壮大だが醜かったので、Cu Chiから往復2時間を無駄にしたように思った。不思議なことにCao Daismは自らの政府と軍隊を持っている。この軍隊は外に出て共産軍と戦うことはしなかったので、多くの若者がCao Daismの信仰に入り、その軍隊に入隊したそうだ。1975年の終戦以来若者の入信がなく、年寄りばかりになりつつあると。

夕方には希望者全員がサイゴン中心街のRex Hotelでの夕食と歌とダンスショーの会に招待された。ベトナム料理は美味しいとは思わなかった。夕食で一緒になったのは、再びGene & Betty McDavid、Ohio州Cleveland 郊外から来た医博Bill & Dorothy Allyn、再びBill & Phyl Lydersだった。

'02/ 3/14 ベトナム戦争は何だったのか    ベトナム戦争は最も愚かな過ちだったのではないか。

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