For Niklas’ birthday, we went to Panglao Island in Bohol, Tagbilaran to celebrate. It’s the first time I boarded a plane after Hanoi and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we now have a daughter, Tara Freya. She is exclusively breastfed (we are a co-sleeping, babywearing, cloth diapering and breastfeeding kind of family). But, it’s not always that a private space is available when the little one is hungry. So, as I’ve done in the past, no other option but to ‘strike anywhere’, a common term among breastfeeding moms which means breastfeeding your child on demand, whenever and wherever. Only this time, we did so at the comfort of Bohol Beach Club’s lounge chairs (convertible to beds!) while the ocean lulled Tara to sleep. And we did it a couple more times in the casitas by the pool!
Before traveling to anywhere, I always research first for the top 3 things to see, do or eat — and my final tourist travel in the Indian sub-continent to Kerala and south India was no exemption. It’s like my non-negotiable. It doesn’t matter whether I’m staying 6 hours or 6 days — I must be able to see/do/eat the top 3 things. After that, I feel happy and accomplished, ready to move on to the next destination. So, when I was checking out things to do in Kochi, the first European colony in India and one of the major metropolitan cities of the south Indian state of Kerala, the Chinese Fishing Nets definitely was on the list. Called Cheena vala in Malyalam (the local language), the Chinese Fishing Nets at Vasco da Gama square in Fort Kochi is a popular tourist spot, especially at sunset. The silhouette of the Cheena vala lining up the shore is such a sight that you wouldn’t imagine it for its actual purpose — a fishing net!
Yes, you read right—there really is a water puppet show and you can watch it at Vietnam’s capital, Ho Chi Minh city!
And no, it’s not like any other puppet show you’ve seen before. Neither is it set on a stage with fake water/waves scenes as the backdrop. The puppet show here in Vietnam really is on water!!!
Held at the Rong Vang Water Puppet Theater (aka Golden Dragon) in Ho Chi Minh City, the show presents the amazing craftsmanship and dedication of its actors/puppet controllers. Imagine, you have to be underwater to be able to control the puppets! I think that in itself is amazing!
The only thing though is that the story is told in Vietnamese so you really won’t be able to fully understand what’s going on. Unless you speak Vietnamese of course. Or, you’re just really good in following storylines. Hehehe
So, if you’re like me, you’d read up on the story based on the sheet of paper distributed before the show. Then, you’ll focus all your energy in watching the movements of the water puppets and feel the rhythm of traditional Vietnamese music, sung and played live from the sides of the theater!
Also, if you are like me, you will be amazed and captivated by the water puppets. Whether you’re waiting for the puppeteer to show up gasping for breath or trying your hardest to understand what’s going on, the water puppets will surely keep you engrossed.
Some people are asking whether watching the water puppet show at the Golden Dragon or Rong Vang Water Puppet Show is worth it or not. I can’t remember the exact price that we paid for but I sure got value for my money. I mean, it’s probably just me, and the two Indian travellers I was with, but we felt that the water puppets and their puppeteers performed well.
Besides, it’s not often that you see puppets in the water! Really, the water puppets show is something I will always remember about Ho Chi Minh and Vietnam!
When people say Cambodia, the first thing that probably comes to mind is the famed Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap. What most people don’t know though, or not even bother to know, is that more than the magnificent temples and ruins that leave you awestricken, Cambodia holds a darker, sadder and, albeit the different context, an equally jaw-dropping history—the Khmer Rouge regime and the horror of the Killing Fields.
One of the first things that greeted me upon arriving in India (via Thai Airways Flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi) is the brass plate (?) wall with these massive hands showing different poses. These, apparently and as I suspected, are Mudras for meditation.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say: A mudrā (English: /muːˈdrɑː/ ( listen); Sanskrit: मुद्रा “seal”, “mark”, or “gesture”; Tibetan. ཕྱག་རྒྱ་, chakgya) is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism andBuddhism. While some mudrās involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers. A mudrā is a spiritual gesture and an energetic seal of authenticity employed in the iconography and spiritual practice of Indian religions and traditions of Dharma and Taoism.
I think using these must be effective as I watched a friend of mine once, in the Bodhi Meditation Garden in Bodh Gaya (the land of Buddha’s enlightenment”), using one of these poses while meditating. Her body was kind of gyrating/revolving, without her knowing it. She explained it must be the energy flow from meditation. And she said she felt great afterwards!