Water puppets, crap movies, random bars

Hanoi Travel Blog

 › entry 14 of 16 › view all entries

Our first day back in Hanoi and we all fell asleep exhausted, wishing we were still in Sa Pa. Woke up at 11, made it out of the hotel by 12 and ate a yummy Pho lunch at a street stall before walking around the lake and checking out the bridge in the center of the lake. Slowly ambled to the post office, where we met  up again with William and Michael. Wandered around the Old Quarter in Hanoi before we made the fatal mistake of deciding to see a movie and the only showing at the time we wanted was Mission Impossible 3. Crap movie. Don't see it. Our taxi dropped us off near our hotel ostensibly but we ended up in a lime market in the middle of the night. Don't ask me how. Everyone was laughing at us wondering what we were doing in the middle of a thousand limes in the middle of the night. Don't ask us.

Next day we decided to pick up the pace on our cultural immersion and went to see Uncle Ho in his mausoleum. Had a litlte misunderstanding with the cyclo drivers, but they ended up driving us there where I felt I was at Disneyland with the amount of time spent waiting in lines and being shuffled from place to place. We walked into the mausoleum and William grabbed my hand as he admitted he had never seen a dead person at all. Ho was looking a little orange and waxy. Hard to belive it was actually him. There were very few foreigners, mostly Vietnamese people paying their respects. But wherevere there was an entrance gate, they pulled us aside to pay the foreigner's fee. Regina managed to sidle into some places, but as soon as they saw the rest of us, they blew their whistles when kep trying to walk and made us come back and pay. Headed to the Temple of Literature next, grabbed some lunch, tried to explain to the Cyclo drivers that we weren't supposed to pay them per hour but for the whole trip.

We ended up meeting up with Nancy, a friend of my friend Marguerite, who was doing a Fulbright there. We met in an air-conditioned (yes!) cafe near the cathedral in Hanoi. Nancy was cool and offered some suggestions for the night life in Hanoi. We ended up seeing the water puppet show in Hanoi, a little hard for us to understand since it was in Vietnamese. Apparently these people stand in water behind the stage to maneuver these puppets. Talk about being underappreciated. Ended up feeling an odd sort of attachment to the movie theater and walking to see the Chronicles of Narnia, which I loved and took me back to being a fourth grader again reading the whole set of CS Lewis' books. Loved it, except still not sure how I feel about Aslan being an allegory of Christ. Can't he just be radiant by himself? Met up with Nancy at Dragonfly Bar, filled with expats, and felt like I was in a bar in San Francisco, except everyone was wearing tank tops and skirts or shorts since it was actually non San Francisco summer weather. We said our good byes to Nancy and wandered home, sad to spend our last night in Vietnam.

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photo by: mario26