Wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning and don’t miss this miracle unfolding before your eyes! People wake up before the city does (shops, morning shifts etc.) and reach for the Hoan Kiem Lake to meditate, take their morning exercise, play: dance, yoga, cycling, fishing, aerobics, weight lifting, chess, massage! Same at dusk! Children inundate the streets to share their toys or improvised game. Children truly play here. You see, video games and technology have not really reached Vietnam yet. The locals are very humble people, very discreet and hard working. They love animals and respect plants. They seem to be tolerant to the western code and they will respect the visitors if the latter leave their attitude back home. It feels that to the Vietnamese there is ritual in everything. The Hoan Kiem Lake, which means “Sword Restored”, is the liquid heart of the Old Quartier (Lonely Planet 2010) with its tiny but emblematic to the city Thap Rua (Tortoise Tower). There’s a beautiful legend around it: in the 15th century the Gods sent a heavenly sword to the emperor Ly Thai To, which he used to drive the Chinese out of Vietnam. One day while he was resting in the banks of the Hoam Kien lake, a giant tortoise swimming on the surface, grabbed the sword and disappeared into the waters! Now you know why the name!