Tet 2011 - Year of the Cat

Nha Trang Travel Blog

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Tunnel of light on Tran Phu

On the Chinese calendar, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit, but here in Vietnam it is the Year of the Cat. The change came Centuries ago when the Vietnamese language was converted from a Chinese script to an Anglo-style alphabet.  The Chinese character translated to a sound similar to 'meo', the Viet word for cat so the name stuck. The other eleven animals are the same on both calendars.

Many of the expats in Nha Trang grumble and moan about the swarming crowds, the shop and business closures, and the high price increases over the long holiday period. Vietnamese driving habits are a year round issue. For me, it’s a fine time to play tourist and browse the area on-foot with my camera.

Kite flyer at April 2 Square
The lotus-shaped Tourist Information Tower and April 2 Square are the center points for many of the holiday activities. Major streets leading to them are decorated with red flags and colorful flowers, and millions of tiny bulbs that transform them into tunnels of light. I like to get there when the lights are turned on and there is still enough evening sky for photos with a background.

DJ music thundered across the square while the stage was being set up for a live band and tonight's entertainment. Only one kid was flying a kite where there will be many in the coming days. A blue tarp wall encircled a large area at the side of the lotus building that faced the square. VIPs or other dignitaries would probably be attending the live entertainment followed by fireworks. Two soldiers were unspooling razor concertina wire (without gloves) to set up a perimeter well-outside the blue wall.

Cat or rabbit, you decide
I passed on taking their photo, or even the temporary wall, since it was a police or military operation.

The impressive fountain near the north side of the lotus tower was not spewing water yet so I crossed Tran Phu Street back toward the Cultural Center. Kids poked their heads through plywood cat faces while parents snapped their picture. The giant head of another well-dressed cat moved side to side. It had a strong resemblance to a rabbit.

I went for a beer at the Alamo and the Booze Cruise. The Bar Oz was closing early as I walked past, heading back to the square. It was well after eight o'clock but the shows hadn't started yet so I went home and watched the spectacular fireworks from my third floor balcony, half a block away.

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Tunnel of light on Tran Phu
Tunnel of light on Tran Phu
Kite flyer at April 2 Square
Kite flyer at April 2 Square
Cat or rabbit, you decide
Cat or rabbit, you decide
Stage for Tet 2011
Stage for Tet 2011
Across the street
Across the street
Flowers on Tran Phu Street
Flowers on Tran Phu Street
Crooked palms
Crooked palms
Happy New Year!
'Happy New Year!'
Lighted streets
Lighted streets
View toward the Cultural Center
View toward the Cultural Center
Cat posers
Cat posers
New Year mural
New Year mural
Giant cat
Giant cat
Selling cotton candy
Selling cotton candy
Nightime food vender
Nightime food vender
Fireworks from my balcony
Fireworks from my balcony
Fireworks 2011
Fireworks 2011
More fireworks 2011
More fireworks 2011
Year of the Cat
Year of the Cat
Nha Trang
photo by: rotorhead85