Saturday, January 12, 2013

thang long water puppet theatre

i didn't have the flights that had great timings when i visited hanoi but i had no choice because vietnam airlines was cheaper than tiger airways -- a supposedly budget option. the flagship airline left singapore in the afternoon and arrived in noi bai international airport at around 4PM, vietnam time. the travel time from the airport into the heart of hanoi took an hour with an exhilarating traffic incident in between. nothing bad happened though. thankfully, vietnamese drivers also wear a good driver's instinct -- a crucial trait one should have when driving in vietnam.

it was november and hanoi was already experiencing a shorter daylight. i was with two other girls and chasing the daylight was very important, especially in a very new and unfamiliar place.

after fixing our room dilemma at our hotel, we were finally out scouring the narrow streets in the old quarter at 6PM. some of which were poorly lit although there were several street food stalls lining along the dark alley. for a girl, it would never be a good idea to walk alone in this scenario, not singling out vietnam but actually to any place.

Thang Long Theatre near Hoan Kiem Lake
Thang Long Theatre near Hoan Kiem Lake

trying my best to say hoan kiem lake in its correct tone for vietnamese language is difficultly tonal, an old vietnamese woman correctly pointed the right direction towards the lake. although, we again asked another one later on the way, to be sure.

alas! the busy roundabout beckoned us that the lake was just a stone's throw away. the lake served as our landmark for the water puppet theatre. and the puppet show became our sole agenda for the night.

outside the theatre, it was packed with other vacationing tourists, most of them were europeans. crossing our fingers that the theatre still had available seats, we were lucky to get the 60,000VND tickets for the 8PM show.

can you see a gathering of people near the theatre? yes, those were the tourists that we jostled through. i'm kidding.

Thang Long Water Puppet Show in Hanoi, Vietnam

Thang Long Water Puppet Show in Hanoi, Vietnam

Thang Long Water Puppet Show in Hanoi, Vietnam

Thang Long Water Puppet Show in Hanoi, Vietnam
The Finale

the show was about the legend of the vietnamese and it detailed the various key points of their culture which they now become today.  the showcase of the puppets lasted for an hour.

i was engrossed during the first part where it depicted the origin of the people in vietnam. the vietnamese people interestingly came from a union of a dragon and an immortal mountain fairy (from wiki) which in the puppet show, was a colorful fowl.

we had no inkling of what the show would be nor the story they would portray. when the magical union happened in the form of dancing and courtship, it bore several eggs and they hatched into babies! see second picture from the top.

we somehow deduced the correct story out from their portrayal.

Thang Long Water Puppet Show in Hanoi, Vietnam

well, is it worth it? for me, it is for my 60,000VND that bought us almost the topmost seats. the theatre was small so, it wasn't a big deal. it is a unique form of an introduction to an unfamiliar culture and the puppeteers were really good at their craft. but halfway through the show, it became somewhat a drag maybe because we couldn't keep up reading the english narrative in the small TV screen, with poor eyesight on top of that. to make it even worse, i was uneasy when i realized that we didn't have the correct change from our dinner. it wracked my brains that half of my mind flew back to the café where we grabbed our dinner.

if you have a good pair of eyes, by all means, buy the cheaper ticket  and you would do fine. and please leave your worries at the door. ;)

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
Tickets: 60,000VND and 100,000VND
Near Hoan Kiem Lake


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