Wow, what a day. After three flights (7 hours, 12 hours, 3 hours), dozens of airplane meals (!) and much fatigue, we finally made it! The students fared really well....
We settled into our hotel, cleaned up and then went out for a quick ice cream, followed by the Main Event: Water Puppets. These puppets are a tradition for all visitors to Hanoi. Made of fig tree wood (waterproof), this 1000 year old tradition depicts the life of farmers' daily life. Puppeteers stand in waist-deep water behind a bamboo screen where they perform the miracle of manipulating the water puppets on long poles under the water. Quite astounding. A small orchestra composed of singers and musicians treated us to Vietnamese accompanying music.
After the hour-long show, we went out to dinner for authentic Vietnamese food! Pumpkin soup, pumpkin stalks, curried fried prawns, vermicelli seafood salad, peppered beef and onions, spring rolls and more were enjoyed by all. We dined with Mr. Nghi, our host, and our guest, Mr. Minh, the Secretary General of the Americas Division of the Vietnam - USA Friendship Society. Our guide, Anh, also came with us. By 7:30, we were adequately stuffed and exhausted. The thunderstorm "cooled" things off a bit (it was 93 degrees today and in the 110's last week, apparently....) Anyway, cool is such a relative word.
To bed early tonight.