We ended up flying directly from Nha Trang to Ha Noi because the entire central coast of Vietnam was flooded thanks to a couple of back to back typhoons. It was really too bad because we'd heard that that area of the country is really beautiful... and also has some great shopping! Too bad...
We ran into a couple from Australia/Taiwan in Da Lat and have kind of been traveling with them ever since. Not on purpose exactly, we just happen to be traveling the same route that we are. It's kind of nice to have a couple of travel buddies for awhile and we all ended up on the same flight to Ha Noi. We all checked into the same hotel in Ha Noi and after walking around for awhile, we went to see the water puppet show.
This show was really cool- nothing lame like we expected. The stage was a small pond and the puppet masters all worked from behind a curtain. I guess they must have worn wetsuits because the curtained off area was still about four feet underwater. They controlled the puppets with long sticks so that that danced and moved along the water's surface. There were people, fish, water buffalo, dogs and all kinds of other puppets all interacting with one another. It was all accompanied with traditional music and song- although we couldn't understand anything that they were saying.
The next day we wanted to go visit Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum but he was in Moscow for a cleaning so we went to the ethnography museum instead. We were able to see the crafts produced by and the types of housing used by all the different ethnic groups in Vietnam. There are lots of different types of tribes so we ended up spending pretty much the entire day there.
That evening, we went shopping and I filled up the rest of the space that we available in our extra suitcase :) Sean is just loving this!