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Published: November 13th 2013
This morning we met our group in a private breakfast area at the Metropole Hotel. Our Tour Guide, we called him Son, gave us a briefing on what our next two weeks would entail, beginning today. It was to be a fun filled journey through some of the most remote areas of the world, seen in a way most tourists cannot, from a river boat on the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers.
But first, the highlights of Hanoi today. And we were off!
Ho Chi Minh's Tomb (he wanted to be cremated, but the Leninists wanted him embalmed and adored like their great leaders), then the amazing Temple of Literature and it's gardens, the One Pillar Pagoda (yawning by now) then a riveting visit to the Maison Centrals (dubbed the Hanoi Hilton by American Pilots held during the War) and then an artfully executed group cyclo ride through the Old Town. After a break for lunch and cooling down, and changing clothes, which is a requirement in this climate, we took a walking tour of the market and finished at a 5:00pm performance of a water puppet show. I thought this was going to be hoaky, water puppets, really?
But between the music that was mesmerizing, the vocals, the story without words, and the designs of the puppets, I was captivated for about an hour with this ancient art form of Vietnam, and gave a standing ovation to the puppeteers who came out in their hip boots for a bow after the performance.
Dinner was on our own and I went to the bakery and got a French bread sandwich, but I couldn't eat much at all, it had been a very long day.
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