Tet 2009 - Year of Buffalo

Nha Trang Travel Blog

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Meal at the Spot
  

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.

Balloons near the Cultural Center
She proudly held up larger notes to cheers from the excited staff. Many ran over to shake hands or hug the donors in heartfelt appreciation.

 

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.

Stage preparations

 

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.

The crowd
Last year my batteries went dead early into the Tet fireworks so I didn't want to repeat the mistake. I stopped at the Guava for two-for-one happy hour Tiger beers. A jam session of blues was taking place and the bar was nearly filled. 

 

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.

The singer
I was able to nudge my way right up to the side of the stage. The singers performed more than once but each did one song in turn. Music was pleasantly upbeat. I would guess several of the singers were national pop stars by their manner, dress, and style though no fans screamed or sighed. The audience was primarily three generations of family members reunited for the holiday.

 

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...

 

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Meal at the Spot
Meal at the Spot
Balloons near the Cultural Center
Balloons near the Cultural Center
Stage preparations
Stage preparations
The crowd
The crowd
The singer
The singer
The stage across Tran Phu Street
The stage across Tran Phu Street
Corn vender
Corn vender
Balloons
Balloons
The stage
The stage
Lighting preparations
Lighting preparations
No swim
No swim
Pounding surf
Pounding surf
Cotton candy
Cotton candy
Banners on Tran Phu
Banners on Tran Phu
Tran Phu intersection
Tran Phu intersection
Hoa Mai flowers
Hoa Mai flowers
Coffee stop
Coffee stop
Tran Phu lights
Tran Phu lights
Coffee/ice cream shop
Coffee/ice cream shop
Cappuccino
Cappuccino
Friendly staff
Friendly staff
Lights coming on
Lights coming on
Smoke
Smoke
Showtime
Showtime
Sugar cane juice vender
Sugar cane juice vender
The emcee
The emcee
Dancers
Dancers
Entertainment for the whole family
Entertainment for the whole family
Jugglers
Jugglers
Performer
Performer
Waiting to go on stage
Waiting to go on stage
Singer
Singer
The emcee was also a singer
The emcee was also a singer
Girl doing Whats Goin On in En…
Girl doing "What's Goin' On" in E…
Sidewalk sale
Sidewalk sale
Sidewalk shopper
Sidewalk shopper
Late-night vender
Late-night vender
Tran Phu banner
Tran Phu banner
Tran Phu roadblock
Tran Phu roadblock
Nha Trang
photo by: rotorhead85