Have secured a place on a Chinese junk for tonight out on Halong Bay. I’ve no idea quite what to expect really, as I’m always rather paranoid about these organised tour things, but this is one of those times where there is not much choice. Tomorrow night I have booked a place on the “Reunification Express” train which runs for a continuous 32 hours at 48 km/h to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), but I’m getting off at Hue after a mere 11.5 hours. I saw the train come through the level crossings of town last night, it looks not bad. Fascinating watching the motorbikes play chicken with it, mounting the pavement to get around the worthless barrier that a guard pulls across the road.
I went to see a performance of the famous water puppet show last night, basically a theatre with a big murky pond of green water that 11 puppeteers wade in, with various puppets on the end of long sticks that appear up out of the water and do things, accompanied by an orchestra and singing. Most of the scenes seem to be very traditional, and depict way of life such as agriculture, religion, fishing etc. Perhaps the most amusing part was these two chickens that they showed humping, which was followed by a floating egg which naturally turned into a chick. As part of the ticket price you get a cassette of the music, so if you are the one that receives that as a gift once I’m home you’ll know that I really don’t like you all that much 🙂