November 16, 2010
Senne’s Summary: We had a pretty mellow day again. We wandered the streets a bit, walked around the lake again and saw a traditional Vietnamese Water Puppet show in the evening.
This morning Steve wanted to go for a walk in what looked like a market at the end of our street. Turns out it wasn’t a market, it was just a street with more shops. The street was so full of stuff it looked like traffic wasn’t supposed to drive there… but as I’m sure you already guessed that didn’t stop anyone from driving there!
It was a bit funny because it seemed to be what I named “underwear row”. All the stalls were selling underwear. There was just heaps and heaps of it in piles. It’s interesting to see how shopping works, because I’m used to the North American shopping experience. Here about 20 people stand in a circle around a heap of stuff and just grab and pull stuff out of the pile. I guess you just have to know what size you are when you buy clothes… you don’t try stuff on! We walked through some more streets and saw a bajillion more things for sale, then decided a walk around the lake might be a little more peaceful 🙂
In the evening we headed out to see a traditional water puppet show. One of the guys who worked at our hotel (I think he was the manager) got us tickets even though they seem to be hard to get. The main water puppet theater was sold out for all the days we were in Hanoi so he got us some at a different theater. He actually had someone drive there and pick up the tickets for us! He suggested we leave at 4:00 (even though the show wasn’t until 6:30 and it should be a 15 minute cab ride), because of traffic. They called us a cab and it took us about 50 minutes to get there. The traffic was insane. Guess how much a 50 minute cab ride cost??? Less than $5. I kid you not! Because we arrived just before the 5:00 show they let us switch our tickets so we didn’t have to wait around.
The water puppet show was interesting. They have live music, which includes two ladies singing in Vietnamese, a flute, some drums, some stringed instruments and other percussion accessories. The instruments looked very different from what we’ve seen before.
The show was basically puppets in the water showing different aspects of traditional Vietnamese life… fishing, rice growing, plowing, dragons, birds… it was actually quite cool. I would definitely recommend it if you are in Vietnam and want to see something cultural. (Of course it would help if we knew Vietnamese and could understand the singing… but you still get the gist of it from watching the puppets :))