Saturday, April 26, 2008

1st Retail Therapy of the Year - Hanoi

This trip to Hanoi was the result of the ultimate passion for retail therapy. And I must express my sincere thanks to non other than Air Asia for providing my girlfriends and I with the adrenaline rush of trying to get hold of those RM0.00 tickets. Such an act (of obtaining the RM0.00 tickets) requires coordination, timely actions and most of all determination. For those of you who have attempted to do so would surely know how it felt like when you click on the SUBMIT button on the final Air Asia booking page.

This Hanoi booking was however not made by yours truly. It was Muni who beat me to the SUBMIT button. Well, you see we were trying at both our ends. So kirakan sapa cepat dia dapat la… Alhamdullillah, we managed to get 3 free (so called free…still got to pay lah..for the airport tax and etc etc) tickets to Hanoi.

Actually we had deliberated on the destination. Nak gi Padang ker? Or should we do a repeat visit to Bangkok ker? Bandung? Nahh…tired (at that time lah) of the FOS. In the end, we decided to give Hanoi a try. New place..what the heck, we were game. Plus my sister has told me some interesting stories about friends who have gone to Hanoi and what shopping was like there. Apa-apa pun SHOPPING tu numero uno!!!

Hanoi Here We Come

I didn't get much sleep that night. By the time I finished packing, it was almost midnight. The flight to Hanoi will be at 6.30am. Muni's husband, Abdullah had volunteered to send us to LCCT that morning. Pick up time was at 3.30am. Ayoo....have to get up at 2.30 lorr. Tak pe..tak pe...we were so bersemangat!!

When we got to LCCT, there was already a line at the check-in counter for Hanoi. No surprise to us. So we just queued together with the rest of the crowd. Most of the passengers were Vietnamese workers heading back to their homeland. Many had baggage which were about to burst. It's a real wonder if they could stick to the 15kg baggage allocation given by Air Asia.

After checking in, we went straight to Immigrations check point and then into the departure waiting area. We headed to the cafe and got ourselves coffee and donuts. I quickly finished my breakfast and headed to the surau to get ready for Subuh prayers. Still got time, we would not be boarding until 6.05am. If was just nice for me. After my Subuh, the passengers were just starting to queue infront of the gate.

Our flight departed on time. It was obvious we were all so excited. We said we could catch up with our sleep but no one actually managed to do that. We were excited like school kids going on their first trip.

3 flights arriving at the same time

Eager passengers waiting for their luggage

Jupe's bag was the 1st to come out

Three and a half hours later we landed safely in Hanoi. Immigrations clearance as a breeze. We then went to the baggage collection area for our bags. It was such a long wait for our bags to come out. There was just one collection area and there were 3 flights which had landed at the same time. I guess it would have been a lot faster if we just waited by the plane and have them passed our bags to us. After the endless 3o minuets wait we finally got our bags.

Yess...Hanoi we are ready to paint you red!!!

We Are on Uncle Ho's Land

The hotel which we would be staying in Hanoi was to have airport pick up for us. It was no Sheraton or Shangri-la. I had found this hotel which offered a very good rate on the Internet. It's an in between 2 to 3 star hotel - Pacific Hotel Hanoi, situated in the city centre itself. A requirement for us as we didn't want to be so away from the shops.

When we walked out to the airport arrival area, we searched for someone who would be carrying a card with my name on it. Cari-cari tak de pun.. Hai, ni yang buat suspence ni. Orang bawak bouquet of flowers ramai lah. Wah...the flowers were so pretty.

We waited for a while more. Still no one came. Please... let the hotel be real and not a scam as some friends had warned us earlier. Not wanting to wait any longer, I then made a call to the hotel and they asked us to go to the hotel information counter to get a cab from there.

By then we had attracked enough attention of locals who seemed to be ever so willing to help. I remember reading somewhere about touts at the airport and people wanting to take tourists for a ride. My "stranger defence shield" was up instantaneously. We were definately not going with any one funny looking.

The guy at the hotel information counter took us to our cab and the cab looked like real cab and he assured us that the driver would be taking us to out hotel. Hai...bismillahhi tawakkal allaulah je la nampak nyer ni. Suspence jugak but...inshaAllah we would be safe.

In the cab to the hotel, we were previewed the famous Vietnam traffic chaos. Cars, motorbikes, bicycles and people were all over the road. It was kind of scarry coz' all vehicles seemed to be heading their own way and looked like they were going to collide into each other. There was lots of honking too. I guess that would be the drivers' way of communicating to other drivers on their intentions on the road.

1st double bed...and check out the PC at the corner

It took us a good 40 minutes to get to the hotel and when we finally arrived, we were happy with what we saw. Like I said...the hotel no Shangri-la nor was it Grand Continental either. There guy who was manning the reception was very friendly. He asked us how many of us in the group. I told him there were 3 of us. He said there were only two beds in the standard rooms. I mentioned if we could have an extra bed put in. He then said he would give us the suite instead the same price of the standard room!!! Wow....that was some Vietnamese hospitality just a few hours after setting foot on Uncle Ho's land.

2nd double bed...and check out the pine wood closet and the full size fridge

We were obviously more than happy to accept the offer. We were given our hotel key and the bell boy brought out baggage up. When we stepped into our room we almost couldn't believe our luck. It was a big room alrite. There were two double beds, 1 pine wood closet and...check this out....a PC with Internet connection!!!! There was even a balcony (which we discovered on our 2nd day). Woooo....this was something else. Even in KL one would not get a room with a PC unless one stayes in a 5++++ hotel. Ini 2.5 star Internet some more and its rates per night was ONLY USD50.

Got massage chair lagiii.....

After we have settled down, we took out the food we brought and had our serunding and bread plus Maggie lunch in the room. Since we would be doing lots of walking after this, we had better fuel ourselves up.

So..after solat and the simple lunch we were ready to do some serious shopping. It was almost 2pm when we went down to the hotel lobby.

Hanoi Day 1 (PM) - Saturday 12.04.08

The Dong Xuan Market

We were all so eager to hit the streets of Hanoi. The guy at the reception had earlier given us the map of Hanoi. Just now in the room we sort of identified the areas where we were going to. I had prepared a simple itinerary of our 3 days visit. The itinerary included a city tour and perhaps a visit to Halong Bay on our last day. Other than that, it was shopping, shopping and more shopping. That was the mission.

We asked the guy at the reception to help us get a cab. He asked where was our destination. Simultaneously, we choired the word "Dong Xuan Market" in a harmonious and happy tune. The cab arrived in jiffy. We got in and instructed the driver to bring us to the market.

Check out the motorcycles on the streets

The driver spoke little English and even when he did attempt to do so, I could not comprehend what he was saying. The words sounded funny. Anyway, we were not so bothered by our non English speaking cabbie. It was the traffic on the road that scarred us the most. Lots of criss crossing and they seemed to have their own rules on the road. Don't get me wrong. It's not that the motorists were notorious nor were they hell drivers. Each one of them surely seemed to know what they were doing on the road and they sort of looked out for each other. How do they do that?? Boy...don't ask just have to see it for yourself.

Asams of all sorts at Dong Xuan Market

We got to Dong Xuan market in about 20 minutes. Actually, the market was not that far but drivers in Hanoi don't drive fast. Our cabbie for example did not hit 50km/hr...that's for sure. Even though they drive slowly on the roads, there were no traffic jams in the city. There were no highways. Just the two lane street packed with bicycles, motorbikes and people.

Dong Xuan market looked a bit like Central Market in least the front facade lah. We then walked in and saw many handbags bergantung-gantung along the walkway in. It was a very busy market. People were all over the place. Some were busy making transactions while others were busy carrying loads of barang on their shoulders. Some of these barang carriers were women. Gosh they must be very strong. No need to go gym...

Boing-boing they were all every where

We then headed to the second floor and what did we see????? Aaahhhhhh.....fabrics and lots, lots of them. As Muni & I are into this new tudung thingy, the fabrics we saw were just the exact ones we needed for our tudungs. sure terjebak la nii...... Mak....pls help!!!!

The Vietnamese sellers didn't speak English. Thus how on earth did we communicate? Alah..apa lagi cara...tekan calculator lah and lots of self created sign language. There were also times when we had to scribble our prices on paper. When they didn't agree to our prices, they'd cancel the figure we had written and they wrote their price on top. Crude but effective.

Bargaining was a sure thing to do. Bargain and bargain hard. I managed to walk away with really, really good bargains for the "boing-boing" materials at the fabric section in the market. We also learnt numbers in Vietnamese language. One is mod, two is hai, three is ba and four is pon. So if you need to buy 1 meter of kain, you have to say mod met (for meter). So all along we were saying mod met...mod met.

Entah napa tah, masa I saw the place all lined with the kain-kain, I started to sing to the tune of one of the songs from the movie "My Best Friend's Wedding". Yg the song towards the end of the movie....someday when I'm awfully low....when the world is cold....I feel a glow just thinking of you.... and the way you look tonight...(later I checked the title of the song is The Way You Look Tonight by Tony Bennett). Then Jupe also started to sing along....apa dah tengok kain je dah jadik weng!!!

After the "boing-boing" kain purchase we sort of wondered around in the market. Looked at the bags and tried bargaining. Unfortunately, not much luck at that time. About two hours later we came out of the market. We asked for directions to go to the Water Puppet theater. We thought we should try get tickets to the show that night perhaps. We asked people around us how far was the Water Puppet place. I asked the guy who looked like the security personnel at the Dong Xuan market. He didn't speak English. He showed me the sign as if he was asking me to wait. He later emerged with a girl who actually spoke some English to help us with our enquiry. Boy!!! That was some hospitality he showed us. We were impressed.

IKEA shopping bags anyone?? Only RM2/pcs

The lady told us to walk straight and we would find the place. We asked if we should take a cab. She said no...she said walk..walk. Ok lah, since she said so we shall walk lorrr. Ahah!!! There was an obvious reason why she told us to walk. What do know, the street heading towards our destination was packed with shops!!! A heaven for shoppers. We then stopped to buy some IKEA shopping bags to put our purchases in. Dah nak terkoyak dah our plastic bag isi kain tu..hehe..heheh.

A landmark in Hanoi

We then came to the corner of the road. From time to time we checked our map to see if we were on the right track. One time when we stopped, we stood infront of a jewelery shop and there was this transparent bangle on the display window. Both Jupe and I had spotted it. We looked at each other but there was like no calling to go check out the bangle. It was something like jade, light brown in colour and you could actually see the grains in the stone. We said tak pe lah...later can go check the bangle out. Priority was to get tickets for the Water Puppet.

Bags grow on trees

More bags lined on the street

The road heading to the Water Puppet theater had other "cabaran" for us. Bags la plak bergantungan!!!! We saw lots of Kippling bags, LeSportsac, North Face bagpacks etc, etc, etc. Ayooo......susah la like this. Iman sure tak kuat punyer. All the bergantung ones were exactly our fancies. We walked into one store to the next. Tried some bargaining. Ade yg nak bagi and ader gak yang didn't bother moving from their seat. Either they were too engrossed on the TV our busy eating. There was this one shop. Tiga kali we went in and without fail we saw two ladies who were glued to the set!!! Wei..tak nak menjual kerr??? Kat kedai dia ader LeSportsac yang tersangat la cun..paisley lagi design dia. Adoi la minah....why la u buat tak layan!

View of Hoan Kiem lake

Anyway, to cut the story short. We didn't manage to get tickets to the Water Puppet show that night. We got tickets for the next night. We were exhausted by then. Kaki pun dah sakit. We crossed over and went to lepak at the lake. We sat there for quite a while jugak la. Waiting for time to go have dinner at a Muslim restaurant in the area.

Jupe & I lepaking at the lake

As we waited at the lake I texted another friend, Nawal who was also in Hanoi. She was on her repeat visit this time. When her reply came in, it was obvious that we were not the only crazy ones here. Nawal and her friends were also going hyper with their shopping. Gilos...memang gilos and we were excited like crazy.

Hanoi cabs

We then went for dinner at this Muslim restaurant called Nissa restaurant. Sama plak nama restaurant dgn nama my little girl..heh...heh. We sort of took the long way to the restaurant. Pada hal tak de la jauh sangat from the place we lepak. Tak pe lah....adventure...but kaki dah sakit lorrr.

We had Malay food that night. Had sambal, vege and other stuffs. Tak ingat what we ordered. But since we were kind of lapar gilerr...blasah je!! Later some people who were together in our flight this morning walked in. Sempat gak la berkenalan.

After dinner, we headed towards the night market on the street towards Dong Xuan market. On our way there, sempat stop at this painting show and got paintings for a steal. Seven of those Vietnamese embroidery paintings for USD36. Sampai terduduk membargain. Lastly dapat gak the price we wanted. I told the girl either she sold us the 7 paintings the price we offered her or she made no sale from us that night. Kena tarik harga skit lerr...acah skit. But kalu she tak bagi price we nak tu...hah...melepas wei!! Mau kena jalan balik to the shop buat muka tebal beli dgn harga more expensive. Nasib baik...

Night market stuff

Ceramic painting

We then got to the night narket. Alamak!!! It was a real dissapointment to us. It was nothing like the ones we saw in Chiangmai or Bangkok. Many of the sellers were selling those funny looking clothes like those amoi from Jinjang would have on them. We had actually thought that it might be like an arts market ker..u knw something yg would reflect the culture of the people. So we walked up and down again and all set to go home lah.

Then on the corner of the street where we wanted to get a cab home, nampak plak kedai jual table cloth. Actually the lady was about to close shop for the day. But when Jupe and I walked in, she started to bring out all the 8 seater table table cloths she had. Laaa...dah la berlambak-lambak table cloths to choose from. Here we also bargained hard. Tetiba masa tengah membargain tu, my phone rang. minister call lerrr. Ayooo nak tau apa ni?? Let's make the report short and sweet...Beb...I have almost finished the Dong money you gave me and I still have two more days to go. Nasib baik ler tak cakap like that. But ABE sure can sense punyer. He sure tau yg I bershopping tak ingat. He could tell from the excitement in my voice. Apa-apa lah...yg penting nyer thank you very much la for sponsoring my purchases ...heheh.

Then came this Indon lady and she pun tompang semangkuk with our bargaining. Tu tak kisah sgt la. Yang I sort of bengang, she had kept aside one table cloth yg I liked. Tulah...silap I jugak. Tak kepit terus table cloth tu..tak pe lah....not meant for me lah tu..I told myself. But sedih jugak ler...

Muni was in the next door shop. Already terduduk memilih bedsheets. Hah...pilih...tebar jgn tak tebar!! When we were buying the table cloths tu, suddenly the guys (more like uncles lerr) whom we met on the plane just now tegor us. We asked them if they were busy shopping. They said they didn't know what to buy!!! Adoi la..pak cik-pak cik least beli je lah 1 table cloth ker for the wife back home. Bukan la susah sgt. Hampeh betol lah those guys...apa lah yg they cari in Hanoi ni agak nyer and they were gonna be in the city longer than us. Ahh...malas nak kay pohci la...ikut suka u all ler...nak gi buat apa pun!!

After the table cloth stint, we were ready to go back. IKEA shopping bag tu pun dah penuh and kaki dah sakit daa... Apa lagi balik lah.

IKEA bag...before stuffs were unloaded

the kains...

the paintings

the table cloths

We got back to the hotel in no time. Went straight back to our room and seperti biasa ritual selepas shopping, atur barang-barang and went snap, snap here...snap, snap there. Ala-ala CSI la plak..

That night we all slept like a log. Penat, happy and very satisfied!!!

Esok day two....

Hanoi Day 2 (AM) - Sunday 13.04.08

Early morning activity on the street..shot taken from the balcony of our room

My alarm went off at 4.30am. Got up for Subuh prayers and then hit the sack again. I guess I was so tired last night. Tak sedar apa-apa pun. Tau-tau it was already morning. We could hear the honking from the streets below. Ahah.....Hanoi was aready awake. The shops would be opened soon and we can do more shopping. Yess!!!

We had our own light breakfast in the room. Had coffee and bread with the serunding. Later we would go down and have the breakfast provided by the hotel.

After everyone was ready, we went down to the hotel coffee house. We wondered what could we have from the spread. There were bread and fruits still left. The rest were not really food we could have on our plates...non halal maaa. I got the bread and cheese and some dragon fruits. We wanted to have coffee but it wasn't hot enough. Later when the hotter pot came, I pour some into my cup. was such a strong one. Terbukak mata dibuat nyer. It was so kaw!! Luckily for us we had had our own breakfast. Perut still kenyang.

After the quick breakfast, we went up and got our bags and ready to venture the streets again. Today, we decided to go to the other market - Hang Da which was pretty close to our hotel. Naik cab the energy for later.

The guy at the reception greeted us. He asked where we would be off to today. We said hang Da market. He then told go to Dong Xuan market. We told him we have done that yesterday. We then hailed down a cab and told the cabbie to go to the Hang Da market.

Hang Da Mrket

The ride didn't take long. We then got down and tried to figure out where was the entrance to the market. There was a staircase which we had to take to the upper part of the complex. The moment I walked up the stairs, this awful smell struck my nostrils. The smell was pungent and yulky combined. Really, really terrible. Something like those public toilets which had not been cleaned for ages. I was already covering my nose with my tudung.

Still...we went up and what did we discover? Ada lah a few stalls selling some ao dai kain and Vietnamese silk (so they claimed lah). We went one round and came out from that place in no times. I could hardly breathe. The smell was really, really awfull. When we got out, I asked for a Mentos sweet from Muni. I just has to smell something to wipe out the bad odour from the market. Nasib baik tak termuntah!!

An old woman crossing the busy street...tak takut apa-apa pun...pedestrians are pretty safe in Vietnam

So to people who have Hang Da in their Hanoi itinerary, my advise to them is a STRICT, NO NO, NO!!!! Unless you were prepared to tolerate the smell. We learnt it the hard way.

We then quickly crossed the road and took out the map again. We wanted to figure out the way to Silk street - Hang Gai and perhaps Hang Be too. "Hang" is Vietnamese for street.

We walked passed some painting shops. At one of the shops, Muni got small paper cut posters depicting the Vietnamese women in their ao dai. A really, really creative piece of work. And we continued our walk. I then saw a shop selling the game boy catridge. Stopped by la jugak beli one game for Nissa.

U suka yang mana??

I suka yg mana???
Jupe...u plak yang mana??

We walked a few blocks of shop and then we turned left and the next thing we knew there were embroidery shops infront of our very eyes. We went in...and apa lagi terjadi lah damage on bed sheets and other embroidery stuffs. Hai...belum apa-apa lagi bag dah penuh ni!!!

Shops on Hang Gai

We went on walking. The next thing we knew we were on Silk street or Hang Gai. So tugas pencarian masing-masing pun bermula lah. Went into one shop and the next one and the next one. Yang I knew between the three of us there were damages all over. Muni & Jupe got silk kaftan sleep dress, I got raw silk shirts for ABE, then a few more silk scarfs for Jupe & Muni and of course handbags. Ha....puas hati!!! Muka senyum je...

There was one shop which we went into had pictures of Mrs Mathatir and the shop owner. Then there was also the Queen (the one from Perlis) and some Malaysian embassy people. We noticed that she had a big bouquet of roses (red ones ok!!) in her shop. When we asked her she said roses are very cheap in Vietnam. She had them changed EVERYDAY!!! Ooooo...jealous nyer la... There were like 3 dozens of roses there in the big vase. Kat M'sia jgn nak berangan lerr..letak je la bunga fake kertas tu.

Next was to go to Ipa Nima a handbag outlet which we have discovered on the Internet. We asked around and showed people the address of the place. Not many people know of the shop. Finally we got a girl from one of the shops to stop us a cab and mintak she speak to driver yg we want to go to this handbag shop.

Nasib baik la ader cab driver yang mau send us there. The cabbie sort of took us on a real long ride. I felt as if we has circled the place more than once. Finally he stopped us at the juction close to Ipa Nima and we had to locate the shop ourselves.

Jupe infront of Ipa Nima..frust iyer?? Tak de bag...hehe..hehe ;-)

Ipa Nima was a building on its own. One would never miss it coz' it's pink in colour. We walked in and saw lots of really beautiful handbags. Those bags which would look good if worn with evening gowns to perhaps cocktail parties. Cantik...bling bling every where. Unfortunately for us, we didn't find the exact ones which we were looking for. We looked one round still...mana lah tau ader kot yg tersorok ker. But still tak de yang dicari. We went out and then decided to get a cab to go back hotel.

Stuffs we bought in the morning

We figured we had better rest for a while coz tonight we'd have the Water Puppet show to go to. So balik lah dgn cab. Sampai hotel..penat jugak...and apa lagi, photo time. Snap, snap here...and snap, snap there..

Next bershopping dalam hujan.....

Hanoi Day 2 (PM) - Sunday 13.04.08

We deliberated what time we should hit the street again. We had had some lunch in the room. Apa lagi menu nyer....maggie lerr. Tak pe lah coz later we would be having dinner at Nisa Restaurant again.

Flowers...aplenty accross the street from our hotel

We went down at around 4.45pm. Got into a cab and asked to be taken to the Water Puppet area. Later we shall walk around that place.

As instructed, the cab driver did as he was told. We arrived at the Water Puppet area in no time. We did not plan for any city tour so we figured it was from these cab rides we would be able to somewhat see the city. True enough. Different cabbies took different routes to the destinations we were going to. Kira ok lah...but we wouldn't be able to tell which building is which lah. Tengok building cantik je...our reaction would la agak nyer the administrative area in Hanoi...ini lah agak nyer the French Quarter. Apa-apa lah...tak penting tu semua.. Most importantly, we could recognize the places we were going to shop at. Itu sudah memadai.

The day before we had "scanned" (borrowing Jupe & K.Ariza's term for having interest to buy, but not buying yet??? Does it make sense?? Well, to us it does) the area near the Water Puppet theater. There were bags hanging all over the place. There were also some pretty interesting craft shops around. Ok..Ok...let's get ourselves goin...

the Kippling bags...

First damage was on Kippling bags. All three of us got one each. Lain-lain design and lain-lain colour. Ikut taste masing-masing lah. Memang dah target dah nak get those Kipplings. Kalu tak beli mau bengkak mata ngangis malam tu kot!! So we bargained and bargained hard. We some how got the prices we wanted.

Next was the arts and craft shop. Muni had wanted to get souvenirs for friends and colleagues. So we walked into this corner shop which was really attractive. It had on display decorative masks hanging at the entrance. Ummmppp...macam menarik je kedai ni we said to ourselves.

Muni found her souvenirs and Jupe and I started looking at other things in the shop. I pulak sudah terpandang this laquer painting and Jupe sudah ternampak this beautiful Anna Sui purse plus some other bling bling purses. Haa...sudah...ini pasti terjebak la ni.

Muni's leopardy bling bling purse

Jupe's Anna Sui..

All determined to get the painting, I bargained for it. Finally settled for USD15....from bukak mulut price of USD25. Jupe also got good price for her purses and Muni was getting quite a steal for the souvenirs and another bling bling purse.

Still in the same shop, I looked up to see what was on display on the walls. Hai la.....ternampak lagi satu laquerware painting. This time it was like a big fruit bowl. It has this tribal woman (me and my search of tribal women..hhehe..ehehe) looking at you. Very rich with colours and very abstract too. So, sudah minat la plak. There were two "bowls" hanging on the wall. Dua-dua pun cantik sangat. When I asked the girl how much it was, she said 35dolars each. Eeee....mengarut la budak ni i said to myself. Kita dah beli so banyak dah ni.

Then she said, I give you 30dolars. I said NO!! She asked me, "Madam...what yr price?" Fuhh..pening gak masa tu..nak calculate dolar, Dong & RM. Ok..i said let's challenge this girl. I told her, "I take the two up there. You give me TWO for 40dolars." Berani la nak mintak dua coz tgk masa tu Jupe pun ala-ala minat gak...hehe...hehe.

The 1st laquerware painting..hanging on my living room wall now

The 2nd painting - bowl like laquerware

So the bargaining process pun bermula lah. The girl said two for 50dolars and I tak agree. Then she went to 48dolars. I pun tak agree. Then down to 45dolars. I said no...I want 40dolars. I told her if you can't give me, it's ok. Then she went down to 42dolars. I still said no. I said never mind..I can just go home. Finally, after some consultation with her boss, she gave in. She gave the two "bowls" for 40dolars. Yipppyyyyyy........both Jupe and I were already grinning from ear to ear. Painting berjaya dibeli dgn good rates and still ader lagi duit untuk beli benda lain. Haaa...tengok tu otak!!! Sick ker tak tu????

We walked out from the shop with the two paintings wrapped in two big black bags. Adoi...terpaksa la mengangkut. We wanted to put into our IKEA shopping bags but the paintings were too big.

We were now ready to go for dinner. It then started to drizzle. Mula-mula light drizzle je...but lepas tu it became a little heavy. But dalam pada hujan tu sempat jugak cari money changer. Found one along the way to Nisa Restaurant and I quickly "disposed" my Thai Bhat to Vietnamese Dong. Waaaa...ader duit lagi....bole shopping lagi...semua suka hati!!!

Dinner was ok. Had rice and some lauks. After dinner we asked for teh tarik and bubur pulut hitam. The teh tarik was ok but the pulut hitam was...urgghhh...masam already. Macam bila masak tu the santan was not cooked properly. So Jupe told the guy about the pulut hitam and said he would not charge us for it. Comel gak sebenar nyer mamat tu...tall and quite fair. But cannot lawan ABE lah...kekasih gelap ku!! Kah..kah...kah....LOL..LOL sampai jatuh kerusi!!!

Hobbits in raincoat 1 - Muni & Jupe

After dinner, relax sat and then headed to the Water Puppet theater. It was raining still. Isshhh... tak leh jadi ni. Better look for umbrella or raincoat to keep ourselves dry from the rain.

We then saw this small shop which had some raincoats hanging. We asked how much it was. Oh no... the lady at the shop didn't speak English la plak. But anyway, we managed to get our raincoats. It was Muni who did the talking. It also attracted the attention and interest of some young boys loitering along the sidewalk. I told Muni to just be carefull with money coz you'll never know who could be watching. Alhamdullilah, tak de apa-apa yang tidak diingini berlaku. Lepas tu dalam pada conversation ala-ala ayam & itik tu, the lady at the shop sempat asked if Muni was a teacher!!! Ada kaaa....anak cikgu ader la we all ni semua!!!

Hobbits in raincoat 2 - Jupe & yours truly

So the three of us pun put on our raincoats lah. Alamak....rasa macam stiff je lepas pakai the rain coat. The raincoat was the type yg one piece from the hood (got cap some more one!!) to the body. We looked so funny in those raincoats. Macam hobbits pun ader jugak.

Finally we came to the Water Puppet theater. There was already a crowd waiting outside the place. The three of us dgn raincoat nyer, dgn paintings nyer all set to grasp whatever that we could about Vietnamese culture from the show. Punyer la semangat tu!!!

Since we sort of stood infront of the line, we were the 1st ones to get into the theater. The walk area was kind of small. So when others wanted to walk in, we had to stand up and let them walk pass. Dengan painting-painting sekali had to be lifted up when others came in. Mana tak nyer..orang lain pi tgk show lenggang kangkung je...we all siap bawak barang-barang shopping skali. Hai...Melayu..Melayu!!

Water puppets

The Water Puppet show was all right. It would have been more interesting if we understood what was said. The puppeteers used long sticks to manuever the puppets from behind the blinds. They made the puppets dance and do some jumps from the water. Ok lah...must give them credit coz it was not an easy thing to do.

Things we bought and lugged into the Water Puppet...amazing kan?? When there is a will there is a way.

After the show, we took a cab and asked to be sent back to our hotel. Just like the cabbie we had this afternoon, this particular one too had taken us on a long ride around the city back to our hotel. Reason for that?? More charges for the cab fare mah!!! Apa-apa lah...we were tired and we just wanted to get back to the hotel.

Those wrapped in newspaper were the laquerware paintings

More damange...

Dah sampai hotel, we did the same ritual as the last night. Took out the things and went snap, snap here and snap, snap there. Still not happy?? Tak pe esok ader lagi and duit still tak perabih lagi.

That night again we slept like a log.

Esok...repeat visit Dong Xuan market....