An early start this morning as we were driven to a nearby park for tuition in, and a session of, Tai Chi. With badminton players and many passers by in the vicinity largely ignoring what I imagine is a familiar scene in that part of Hanoi an elderly gentleman straight out of Hollywood casting explained the activity to us. Then assisted by three women, one of whom turned on a CD player for some exotic sounding music, we followed our tutor's steps in wobbly fashion. The activity certainly woke us up but I doubt any startlingly new practitioners were discovered.
Next stop was the Tortoise Pagoda. I think that was it's name. We wandered around the many altars laden with food and drink offerings for ancestors passed on. I was a little surprised that our guide, a local, continued his narrative in close proximity to a group of mourners but wasn't surprised when eventually one of those mourners asked us to move on and let them mourn in peace.
Then it was on to the Museum of Ethnology celebrating the various ethnic gropings, around 54 if my memory is correct, that comprise the population of the country. The two storied enclosed museum contains many photos and representations of the lifestyles and clothing of the groups.
Surrounding the enclosed museum building is a large garden containing reproductions of housing typical of various ethnic groups.
Next, a visit to a lacquerware factory and store for a demonstration of the creation of a lacquerware followed, naturally, by a shopping opportunity (the first of many to come).
After lunch at a nearby restaurant rickshaws were ordered to take us through the narrow crowded lanes of the large shopping quarter to a performance of Water Puppets.
The performance space at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.
The musicians and singers seated in a side enclosure.
One of the puppet stories played out by puppeteers hidden from view behind the back curtain.
The puppeteers take a bow at the end of the hour long performance.