Hanoi: Water Puppets.So, besides prisons, what else is there to do for kicks in Hanoi? I'm glad (I pretended) you asked! Why, there's the famous Hanoi water puppets, what else? Not surprisingly, the famous Hanoi water puppets involve puppets in, well, a pool of water. Who would have thought? (For the record, the actual name in Vietnamese, which has too many accents to possibly spell out right, is "puppets that dance on water.") The people operating the puppets hide behind a big temple-thing on stage, while they use big poles that are under the water to control the puppets, making them dance around, or dance around, or dance ... well, you know what I mean. There's also a traditional band (or at least, a band dressed up in traditional clothing using old instruments, which I'm guessing are traditional, which may or may not make them a traditional "traditional band) on the left side of the stage providing music, including vocals. Overall, I would say that the whole setup looks remarkably like this:
Here's some of the dancing of the puppets that I mentioned earlier:
And here's one of the band, which I also mentioned earlier. It also happens to be, I think, a strong contender for the best picture I took the entire trip. I'm not sure how it came out, since it was dark and I don't think I used the flash, but whatever--I like it:
If any of you are curious about what a water puppet show actually sounds like, here's a YouTube video that is much better than the video I took in two very important ways: one, it's clear enough that you can actually see what's going on (a nice benefit in videos, you have to admit); and two, it actually features the dancing puppets from my picture up above:
You can find out more about water puppets here if you want. Lest you think water puppets are all fun and games, let me throw out four words: "secret societies" and "rooster blood." Seriously, both apply.