Things have gotten much better since our arrival in Hanoi. It has been raining on and off but not too badly. We woke up this morning and had ourselves some hotel breakfast. Eggs and toast. With Vietnamese coffee. Yum yum yum. They put condensed milk at the bottom which is just delightful.
After that we headed out the door. Elizabeth wanted to get our tickets to go see the water puppets tonight. When we arrived at the theater all of their tickets for the night were sold out. BUT they did have seats left for a show that was going to start in about 5 minutes. Good timing! We bought our tickets and head on in.
The seats in the theater were not built for Western people. The width was fine, but the space from the back of my chair to the chair in front of me was about 3 inches shorter than the length of my thighs. There was no way for me to get comfortable, but after much wiggling and twisting I was able to find a position that didn't make me feel like my kneecaps were breaking.
The show was cool. To anyone who is unfamiliar with what the water puppet show is (like I was 24 hours ago) there is a stage with water and the puppeteers work the puppets out of sight with long poles that go under the water. Liz says that the show originated in the rice patties to amuse the workers. The whole show was about 45 minutes long and was in Vietnamese, but since it was mostly singing and about the visuals it was a lot of fun. I think the mixture of my own delight and the youthful comments of the children in the audience made me feel like a child myself. One part of the show involved two people fishing. The man was splashing his basket all over and at one point trapped his friend. The woman than chased him around with her basket, until she trapped him in a corner and he was shaking with fear. Another highlight of the show was a phoenix dance that ended with a hatching egg and a new phoenix dancing with it's parents. I've got pictures and videos for when I get back.
After that we went to a lake (don't ask me what it was called, I can't speak Vietnamese!) with a bridge to a pagoda in the middle. Apparently there is a legend there, something about a sword and a giant turtle and the sword has been given back to the giant turtle...I'm not sure. But it was pretty and there was a small temple.
After that we got some coffee and popsicles. Very tasty. Then we found a lovely cathedral. Liz thinks we really lucked out and showed up as mass was letting out because we were able to get in and look around. When we were leaving, they were locking up the doors. The cathedral was really nice with stained glass portraits of saints down the walls. I'm not a religious person, but I find going to temples and churches always has a calming effect on me.
The next part may sound a little weird, but we went to an italian place for lunch. Liz's friend Kevin said it was amazing so we decided to try it. It really was delicious. We split three things: pesto linguine, four cheese pizza and something that had spinach, potatoes and anchovies with lots of garlic. Everything was super tasty. When we finished, we realized we needed to get back to the hotel to book our day trip for tomorrow.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a few shops. I bought a pair of thai fishermen pants (which I am wearing right now and they are SUPER COMFY) and Liz got a shirt. We made it back to the hotel and booked a day trip tomorrow for the Perfume Pagoda.
Now we are resting a bit. Liz is having a nap and I took a nice cooling rinse in the shower (it's pretty warm here, but not too bad). We plan no heading out for some special grilled fish for dinner and maybe some more street wandering. My Pinghe coworkers told me I HAVE to try the street food here so I need to keep my eyes open for anything that looks good.
Well, we have been back for our rest for a while and the day is a wasting, so I think I'm gonna try to wake up Liz now. Wish me luck!