One of the things I love most about traveling is seeing things that you not only have never heard of, but things that have never entered your brain before, things that make you stop and stare with your mouth open.
We saw one of those events at the main lake in Hanoi, Vietnam. Having got off the night train at 5am we had until much later in the day to check in to our hotel. I suggested going down to Hoan Kiem lake in the center of Hanoi to see if the OAP myth was true or not (OAPS= Old Aged Pensioners in Brit-speak).
The lore was that the city's wrinklier folks congregate around the lake at the break of dawn to exercise together. And it's no joke. An overwhelming number of, I'm guessing, septuagenarians, gather and play badminton, do Tai Chi, massage each other, self-flagellate–you name it– and then vanish, to who knows where. I normally contain myself like a proper English person, showing no emotion when I see surprising sights. This time I stared so hard at the people playing badminton on the street that they gestured at us to come and play with them. We looked at them, looked at each other, shrugged, and threw our backpacks down, ready to take on the auroral OAPs. Needless to say we lost, quite badly, but had a fantastic time doing it. We had picked our luggage off the sidewalk again by 7am.