Day 3 – Hanoi
Today I decided to go to the PoW museum, and the water puppet theatre. I set out after breakfast and, at the road junction I had turned left at the previous day, this morning, I turned right. Turns out, the museum was closer than I had thought.
Still, I arrived at the museum, easily enough, and went inside. It is no longer a complete camp; instead only a few buildings remain. It was housed in a yellow building – many buildings of this colour were former French government buildings and this was no exception. It was a prison under French rule, before it was used for Prisoners of War during the Vietnam War. The camp was nicknamed the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ by the prisoners there, because of the conditions. Although biased, it is still interesting to see the museum and exhibitions inside.
After the museum, I thought I’d get some lunch, and I’d got to the café at the Women’s Museum, which I walked past, but did not go inside, yesterday. However, because of Tet, the café (and museum) were now shut, so it is a good thing I went yesterday. I found a café open and had a very nice lunch, before I walked up to the water puppet theatre at the top of the lake. The performance was at 3pm – some time off from when I bought the ticket. At the top of the lake is a temple, on an island, connected by a bridge to the mainland, so I decided to have a potter around there and the shops surrounding it.
The temple was, typically, temple-like. It killed some time though, and after browsing the shops, I sat by the lakeside and read until the water puppet show. This is something that Vietnam is famous for – there were some on offer in Ho Chi Minh City too. The performance lasted 50 minutes and whilst it was all in Vietnamese, it was still interesting seeing it. It was very impressive. It looked like a typical theatre, except at the front was a big pool of water and a screen. Behind the screen, the puppeteers worked. At the side were some musical instruments which were played during the performance. The puppets were very impressive and the stories, from what I could work out, were traditional Vietnamese folk tales.
After the performance, I went back to the hotel, showered and went for food. It was going to be an early day the following day for the cruise.