The Colors of Tet

Nha Trang Travel Blog

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Flags
 

Banners, flowers, and billboards brightened the Tet holiday season. Vietnamese flags - red with a single, centered yellow star - flew on balconies of residential buildings and on the fronts of many shops and businesses. Those flags bordering  major streets and traffic circles alternated with others, also red, bearing the Soviet-era hammer and sickle. Red banners with yellow lettering spanned wide streets offering new year wishes or quotes by Ho Chi Minh. Colorful plastic sheeted propaganda billboards fluttered in breeze, anchored throughout town and along the beach walkways.

 

Back-street sidewalk venders displayed neatly stacked piles of green watermelon, coconuts, and sugar cane. One vacant corner lot was transformed into a busy flower market. Resembling a U.

The corner flower market.
S. Christmas tree lot without the fence, tangerine trees from one to two meters tall stood in long rows - gifts that will give for months to come. Red, yellow, and orange flowers from Dalat, in rows of plastic pails, carpeted the  remainder of the otherwise dusty lot with a spring-like freshness. Cyclo rickshaw drivers pedaled larger purchases to homes and businesses.

 

The Tet holiday was not always a colorful, festive time. This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the Tet Offensive of 1968 when the fiercest fighting of the Vietnam War took place. Ken was in the middle of it. The first of this month marked the day that he suffered serious shrapnel wounds and was evacuated from the Siege at Khe Sanh. I'll never forget his telling that, as small-arms fire peppered his medevac helicopter, morphine did not ease the pain; instead, made him numb to impending death - and accepting the fate.

Beach billboard
Ken survived. The siege lasted from January  20th until Easter Sunday, in April of that year, and both sides suffered heavy losses.

 

As families return to homes and jobs, worldwide, the streets of Nha Trang are becoming less crowded.  The push-carts of colorful balloons, streamers, and small toys have dwindled. The market places hustle with activity and with the bakery finally re-opened, sliced sandwich bread is back. Once again the corner lot is abandoned and most of the road-side flags and banners have come down. But many of the billboards remain, often referring to events of 1968.

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Flags
Flags
The corner flower market.
The corner flower market.
Beach billboard
Beach billboard
Seasons greetings
Season's greetings
Balloons, streamers, and toys.
Balloons, streamers, and toys.
New Years day, Tet.
New Year's day, Tet.
The Cultural Center from the stage.
The Cultural Center from the stage.
Some type of game going on, blue t…
Some type of game going on, blue …
... and the reds.
... and the reds.
Day of Tet
Day of Tet
Mangos, dried squid, and beer!
Mangos, dried squid, and beer!
Rats!
Rats!
Tangerines southbound on Tran Phu.
Tangerines southbound on Tran Phu.
Corner flower market
Corner flower market
Shopping for Dalat flowers
Shopping for Dalat flowers
Nha Trang
photo by: rotorhead85