Good Morning Vietnam!!!!

Written from Hanoi, Vietnam on Friday, September 18th, 2009
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Tee hee. After a night train from Nanning with a short stop at the boarder around midnight we finally made it to Hanoi Vietnam!!

I'd like to thank Elizabeth a woman from the train who pad our $0.25 Canadian entry fee for Vietnam. Ok not really an entry fee, but they charge you to take your temperature. Who knows what would have happened if she wasn't here to bail us out. We had no Vietnamese money and not enough Chinese Yuan left. Oops. Elizabeth also paid for a couple German guys in the same boat. After we arrived to town we figured we could hit a bank machine, but since his station is 3km from town and anything else useful we would have been stuck. Well not stuck, but definitely worse off then her offer to pay the other guys taxi and share one with us :). Yay!!! I think she's British, but has lived here a couple years and knows the language and prices :). Thanks :).

So like every other country from now on, I have never been to Vietnam. In fact I don't know much about the country except I knew a couple people from here when I was growing up, and a bit about the war. I'm not a big history person, but I still think I should put a big Canadian flag on my pack.  But now that I'm here seems like no one cares and everyone is just doing there own thing.

We were warned that Hanoi was a big dirty busy city, but now that we're here it doesn't seem too bad. Yes there are 1000's of motorcycles filling the roads not caring what side to drive on or if the light is red or green.... And we are putting our life at risk crossing the road. There is a crazy thing that happens when crossing though..... if you walk at a slow steady pace the motorbikes will drive arund you, just don't panick and stop suddenly since this messes up the drivers and will probably cause an accident.  Hanoi is busy and overly touristy and all that, but for some reason the chaos seems ok :).

Our first day we ditched Chris' camera lens off to get fixed (always a scary thing) then wandered around eating and killing time before the main event for meeeee. Yep traditional style Water Puppet Show :). Tee hee. Ok, not really traditional since it's meant to be preformed on flooded rice patties... hard to do in the city, and more seasonal.  By the time we got to our seats In the theatre for the 8PM show I was exhausted from the night train and the day.....but once the music began I was so happy we didn't wait.

It was s cool. I know I'm a total geek, but really this was neat. The seating was like a movie theatre but in front centre stage was water about waist deep. On the left of the stage was a group of musicians that played some pretty funky music. I loved one of the traditional instruments that was only played my men traditionally, but this night a woman was playing it. It was like a flat table shaped like a rectangle that  had only one sting I think on the one side, then the sting went up on an angle to the other side and was attached to a round smooth stick with a curved top. It made an incredible sound when she pulled or plucked the sting with her right hand and spun and jiggled the smooth stick with her right. I really enjoyed the music UNTIL.......... Yep you guessed it, the singers. Two women singing so loud and high I thought it was impossible. Crazy!!! Anyways, after the musicians the puppets arrived centre watery stage and the show was fun. Our program was in English so we had a good idea what was going on. I loved the dragons, frogs and fish as well as all the other cool puppets made mostly of painted wood, but also some fabric as well :).

There was one confusing section when there were unicorns??? Ok, I'm used to Irish style unicorns....white horse like creatures with a long horn and the purest  mythical beings.... These unicorns looked like brightly coloured dragons with flatter faces??? I really have to look up what there unicorns are like? Are they healing and moral? Or different? Google help!!!!

So the puppet show rocked and I think it's pretty cool that the puppeteers stay in water and have everything moving up to about 8 ft away from them.  I think the frogs and fish were the best, but hard to say :). I liked the way everything moved around the water.

OK mostly we stuck by the lake and got things organized for heading to Halong Bay :). Hanoi has a tourist getto and every place in the area sells tours to Sappa (a hill station in the North), or Halong Bay where there are cruises on the Junks :). So since we were already in the getto we went all out. We probably paid to much for our 1 night 2 day tour, but guess we'll see. Paul and Rebecca (we met them on the Dragoman African overland tour) had already done this and warned us not to skimp since it could get pretty bad, and that it was definitely worth it :). Hpe they're right :).

Time to sleep, tomorrow will be  busy day :). Ok fishes here we come............... Meeeeeeeeeeeeee

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Waterpuppet Theatre :). Hanoi, Vietnam Hanoi, Vietnam Waterpuppet Theatre :). Hanoi, Vietnam I love the sound from this crazy one sing instrument. It\\\'s traditionally played by men, but I guess this woman is a rebel :). Water Puppet Theater in Hanoi, Vietnam Water Puppet Theater in Hanoi, Vietnam Hey Jun, I didn\\\'t know you had a restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam. Waterpuppet Theatre :). Hanoi, Vietnam Hanoi, Vietnam The preformers at the Waterpuppet Theatre :). Hanoi, Vietnam

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