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 be...ha...ni 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
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.
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!!!
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!!
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.
Those wrapped in newspaper were the laquerware paintings
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....