Tet 2008, The Year of Rat

Nha Trang Travel Blog

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'Drafting' through traffic.
  

The population of Nha Trang had swollen by thousands for the Tet holiday which commences tonight at midnight. It was after nine when I left the house. Hong Bang, the street at the opposite end of our alley, is not as commercial as Bach Dang and usually makes for a faster commute. But it too was already clotting with crowds making their way toward the beach. The usual traffic of bicycles and motorbikes was greatly enhanced, and slowed, by pedestrians and out-of-town cars. On-coming vehicles with bright lights erased all night vision so pacing behind wider, three-wheeled, rickshaw cyclos through the most congested areas enabled me to reach Wilson's in one piece. The Spot was rather quiet with most of the expats staying home. Most of the travelers were already along the beach.

 

After a Tiger beer, and another at Checkpoint Charlie's, I braved jamming streets and pedaled to my favored 'sidewalk 7-11' on Tran Phu, across the street from the beach.

Tran Phu boulevard
Ý and Tiên, the young owners, were both there along with their 7 and 11 year-old girls. I found an empty chair at one of the two red plastic tables and popped open a canned Tiger. Like most of the local eateries and sidewalk venders, the plastic furniture is miniature; kid-size. The tables, usually taken by Vietnamese locals, were occupied by mostly foreigners this night. The youngest girl giggled when a hefty, tipsy Russian stood to leave and lifted his chair with him. We sat along the stretch of Tran Phu Street where thousands of tiny colored bulbs spanned all four lanes to create a tunnel of light. Canned Tiger is rather tacky but the location ideal as midnight approaches.

 

While traffic continued to flow, the street narrowed by more and more people shuffling along the beach opposite the nearby Cultural Center.

Tet fireworks
A stage had been set up there. Live music and dance, including the popular Dragon Dance, entertained the growing masses - mostly families reunited for the holiday.

 

Suddenly, the loud popping and crackling of fireworks ushered-in the Year of Rat and rained color from dark skies near the Cultural Center. I abandoned my Tiger and crossed the boulevard to work my way in that direction, taking sporadic pictures with my new, still-unfamiliar, Olympus camera. People cheered with each colorful burst that sizzled in the sky. As clusters of fire flashed and burst to stream and sparkle earthward in eerie shapes and colors, I cursed a lengthy digital delay, and an even longer wait to glimpse results. While the city seemed to fade in gray and white smoke, my battery light began to blink red.

Enter the Rat
Not now! The camera went blank. My pictures came out terrible but manage to convey those opportunities that I missed.

 

When the firework display ended, I pedaled to Checkpoint Charlies and enjoyed a cold Tiger to toast the Rat. Reveling crowds thinned streets rather quickly. Many of the passing motorbike drivers held lengths of green-leafed sugar cane which is said to bring good luck. Perhaps I should have hauled one on this photo safari, or three to make a tri-pod. Overall, seeing the apparent enchantment by such a large crowd, without mishap or unruly disturbances, and hearing their cheers of delight at the fireworks, made for a great night out.

mellemel8 says:
i would love to celebrate the new years here.
Posted on: Feb 20, 2008
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Drafting through traffic.
'Drafting' through traffic.
Tran Phu boulevard
Tran Phu boulevard
Tet fireworks
Tet fireworks
Enter the Rat
Enter the Rat
Eerie image with a new camera
Eerie image with a new camera
Fireworks
Fireworks
Sidewalk fruit drink vender
Sidewalk fruit drink vender
Smokey skies
Smokey skies
The seven-year-old
The seven-year-old
Rehearsal for a Tet stage show
Rehearsal for a Tet stage show
Stage for New Year show
Stage for New Year show
My favorite Sidewalk 7-11
My favorite 'Sidewalk 7-11'
Y and Tiens girls
Y and Tien's girls
Nha Trang
photo by: rotorhead85