Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hanoi, Vietnam

After 18 hours on the bus we reached the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi. The city is chaotic, just like Ho Chi Minh but has a lovely old quarter which we stayed in. There's a really nice atmosphere here and everyone is full of smiles and so friendly, even when they're trying to scam us - it's been pretty much like that through all of Vietnam. Also, just like the rest of Vietnam so far it's roasting hot and unbelievably humid.

The old quarter is right beside a big lake and most of the streets are dedicated to one purpose. There's shoe street which only sells shoes, bag street for bags etc, it's quite odd to walk down a street which only offers one product but I suppose it makes shopping a little easier. One thing we saw which we'll never be buying and quite frankly would give me nightmares was roast dog..... Lined up along the side of the street you could see whole dogs, skinned and roasted on big skewers...... Agghhhh!!!!

We didn't have much time in Hanoi, but based ourselves here while we visited Halong Bay and Sapa. Everyone we met assured us that if we didn't have much time in Hanoi, the one thing we couldn't miss out on was the Water Puppet Show at the Water Theatre. After seeing the show I'm not quite sure I'd agree with that!

Water Puppets are one of the traditional entertainments of the Vietnamese people and the show basically involves a small orchestra playing instruments that we've never seen or heard of before, a couple of 'singers' who sound more like tortured cats, and some water puppets. The puppets are the freakiest looking things ever and are controlled in such a way that they appear to dance out of the water.... I'm sure it's very interesting, if you're interested in that kind of thing!! And have no doubt that the puppeteers have a difficult job hiding under the water while they make their puppets dance but I think it was just a bit of culture overload for us!

After the show it was straight to the pub for a glass of much needed Hanoi Beer and to watch the people go by - much more interesting to us than water dancing puppets!


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