Monday Feb 1 Hanoi

Written by Jack van Ommen on February 1st, 2010

In the nearly 4 years since I last visited Hanoi the tourist count has at least tripled and this is the drawback to many places we have seen, Angkor Wat in the worst way. Unless you get up at the crack of dawn it is nearly impossible to avoid the crowds. We followed a prescribed walk from the Lonely Planet tour guide through the old quarter of Hanoi and we found ourselves in the company of several other groups following the same route. The narrow streets are now too crowded to do it by bicycle, which was still possible in 2006. After the Old Quarter with its specific trades, like metal workers, herb vendors, jewelry stores and silversmiths, etc., we circumnavigated Hoa Kiem Lake, visited the temple on an island in the lake and then watched the water puppet show. This show was amazing. The puppeteers and their orchestra have performed all over the world. This is an ancient form of entertainment. Originally the puppeteers stood waste deep in the rivers or lakes  behind a screen to manipulate the puppets from under the water surface.  Tomorrow we leave early for Ha Long Bay. Iris removed a small tick from my back, this afternoon. It had not burrowed very deep yet and I am hoping that it did not carry any nasty pathogens. Not sure where I caught it, most likely in Laos.


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