Tet 2011 - Year of the Cat
Nha Trang Travel Blog› entry 118 of 126 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.