Tet 2009 - Year of Buffalo
Nha Trang Travel Blog› entry 70 of 94 › view all entries
Tables and chairs fanned out into the sidewalk from the Spot. I hesitated on staying for a beer, not caring for chattering crowds but Tuit quickly ushered me to a table and presented a plate of free food.
The unexpected feast included a variety of western and eastern foods; potato salad, garlic bread, a slice of pizza, mini spring rolls, and three strips of pork. Cauliflower, roughly mashed and mixed into a rice pudding-like substance tasted of neither. Two types of a spiced, machine-made bologna-type texture might have been tofu - I had seen that listed on several menus in town. They went down okay with the garlic bread and Saigon Beer. Experimental combinations made the filling meal quite flavorsome. Tuit collected donations to tip the busy staff who worked the important Tet holiday away from family and friends.
I rounded the block to reach Tran Phu Street across from the Cultural Center. A fenced-in corner lot stored heavy red-clay pots of Hoa Mai, a yellow blossom that represents spring. There were two displayed at the Spot. I noticed more children's balloon carts around that intersection than last year. Some were red and round with New Year wishes printed on them but many were shaped and painted like the Fish, Cat, Pig, Rabbit, or the incoming Buffalo. I wondered if some were leftover inventory from previous Tets. Outgoing balloons were adorned with Mickey and Minnie Mouse faces representing the Year of Rat.
Across Tran Phu, stage preparations were underway with crews connecting heavy cables to speakers and amplifiers, assembling lighting equipment, or tuning instruments. Winds were dying down from a passing weather front but waves still crashed onto the Nha Trang Beach. I went to Ý and Tiên's for a couple of sidewalk beers. Ý was dressed sharp and ran errands with their motorbike while Tiên minded the store. Afterwards, I stopped at an ice cream/coffee shop next to the 62 Tran Phu Hotel for a cappuccino. City lights trickled on as patches of blue sky began to appear through breaking clouds.
I pedaled to the house, completing the afternoon trip around the block, then early night, walked to the A-Mart convenience store to buy AA batteries for my camera.
I made my way to Tran Phu Street around 10:00. Traffic was detoured onto Hung Vuong, one block in from the beach, so the walk toward the Cultural Center was easy. Ý and Tiên's was closed. That was a prime spot for sidewalk beers while watching fireworks but their shop had been temporarily replaced by a sugar cane juice vender with empty table and chairs. I proceeded to the stage, just down the street.
Large crowds were rather quiet as a wide variety of musicians performed.
Time passed quickly as I clicked my camera with random shots. I was stunned to see the camera 'chip full' indication and promptly exited stage right for the house. Half way there, I checked my pocket watch to see it approaching twelve. Then the fireworks began to usher in the Year of Buffalo. I deleted half a dozen pictures in an attempt to capture the moment but, like the Year of Rat, botched it. Maybe next year when the Tiger comes to town...