Tuesday, June 13, 2006

the muppets go for a swim

When I came back to Hanoi I waited at an internet place to be escorted to my next hotel. And who should I meet there but David, of Ho Chi Min City fame. In fact, I’ll probably see him again tomorrow as well since his flight to Shanghai leaves at the same time as my flight to Bangkok. It’s a small world.

After getting settled in at my new place, I went down to the lake to get tickets for the Water Puppets performance. Water puppets are in fact puppets manipulated in the water. They are made of wood and are moved by long poles running under the water. The handlers are hidden behind blinds in the middle of the watery stage, which looked to be about two or three feet deep. It was an hour performance made of short dances or stories performed by the puppets. My favorite ones were the Dragon Dance, the Pheonix Dance, and Unicorns Playing with a Ball.

Water puppets as an art form apparently originated a couple hundred years ago during a flood season. I could imagine the farmers running around in the middle of the streets or in rice fields moving these wooden figures around on long poles.

For dinner I took the recommendation of my hotel and went to Little Hanoi, a decent Vietnamese restaurant. But I realized as I was walking back that I should have just sat on the street with all the other Vietnamese people and had some pho noodles, but I was wanting some air conditioning. It was 38 degrees Celcius today.

I leave bright and early tomorrow morning to catch my flight to Bangkok. Goodnight Vietnam!

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