The w/e of the 10th of December we went to Ha Noi in Viet Nam. It was a holiday w/e here in Thailand and this time we had our visas ready! We stayed in the Hilton and although the sun didn’t shine it also didn’t rain. All the Ha Noien’s were dressed for a cold northern winter but for us it was fine. We wore long pants and shoes and socks with T shirts in the day and a sweater was ok in the evening. The day we left however, the hotel had put the heating on!
We explored the old part of town which consists of small winding streets each dedicated to a specialty and all the shops in that street sell that one item.
We came across the Opera House which is a beautiful building in the middle of Ha Noi with a huge and busy traffic circle in front of it, this did not deter brides and grooms from standing in the middle of the road to have their photos taken with the Opera House in the background!
We were able to see one of the performances of The Water Puppet Theater. This art form is thought to have originated in the rice fields of the northern part of Viet Nam as a form of entertainment. It remains very folk artsy and the stories are mostly of village people. It was a great experience as Ha Noi is the only place in Viet Nam to have this theater show. We were treated to an impromptue comedy before the show when one of the Japenese audience on arriving in the theater dropped his pamphlet on to the ‘stage’ which was not very high off the ground he promptly stepped up on to it to retreave the booklet and fell into the water. the look of surprise on his face was pricless! The stage was, in fact, a pool with high sides to keep the water in. The water was compleatly still and it looked just like a shinny surface. I guess being Japenese he hadn’t realised it was a “water” puppet show, all the other Japenese (coach tour)laughed at him and he bowed to them and looked very upset at his wet trousers and leather jacket. It was just the way he stepped into the water thinking it was solid that was so funny, Dave and I were in stitches for ages. Yes the show was good. We bought one of the retired puppets and a new one to add to our collection of Asian Puppets.
We went to a very sxpensive French restaurant one night, good food but high prices. after we sat outside a street cafe for a drink, just like Paris and watched the world go by. Mostly young people who arrived on motor bikes and had them parked by guys who were waiting to do this service. We couldn’t figure out how they knew which was which as the event happened very quickly but as soon as the owners reappered so did their bikes which had been parked in the most amazing small places. There are a huge amount of bikes in Ha Noi and the streets get jammed up with them. The side walks are used as parking spaces rather than walk ways.
Another night we visited a good Vietnamese restaurant which had live traditional music performed by these young girls.