Saturday, February 02, 2008


We walked around town looking at the Tết decorations today. Weird things keep happening with the city decorations, and while I observe, I don't understand: the little park on Đồng Khởi Street was nearly forested with Christmas trees until street decorations started going up around December fifteenth or so. Then the park's decorations disappeared. Did they change their civic minds about what clashed with what? But this happens all the time. Over the last few days, a large scaffolding supporting huge balloons was erected on the south lawn of Reunification Palace, all of which is already down today, though Tết isn't until next week. Large gold dragons encircled the green area just north of the palace; those have come down already, too. Maybe because the city center seems to be celebrating martially--the fortieth anniversary of the Tết Offensive of 1968, rather than astrologically--the lunar new year. There are now red sickle-n-star banners lining that park. We wandered to the opposite side of the Palace today, however, where zodiac Tết is in full swing: lanterns hung above samples of orchids and flowering bonsai trees and local butterflies and tropical birds--all richly colorful under the deepening blue twilight. An amazing display of food sculpture: tigers and dragons and this year's obligatory rat all fashioned from piles of raw pineapples, squash, beans, and the rambling et cetera of Vietnam's cornucopia, à la Giuseppe Arcimboldo.* Full-on night fell while we were still in the park, lit eerily by the green floods spotlighting plant displays and aurally by the traditional haunted and polytonal Vietnamese operas. It took me a while to look up, but then I saw the bats: translucent, silent, and about as big as my hand, wheeling and darting by the dozens, hundreds, inches over our heads. Stud. [Cavin]

Then, a 1 sided conversation ensued...

To which Blogger Mr. Cavin added:

Saigon Stud Poker: I found my one hundredth complete playing card on the street outside the Tết carnival today: the Ace hearts. I'd seen a dozen more farther south, but those were spread in the oil and spray paint of an active scooter repair shop, and I wasn't about to try getting those. If you read the last installment of my card game, in the comments section here, you then know that this brings the house hand to merely a pair of sevens--narrowly beaten by my pair of eights--ending the tenth hand on a high note. Huzzah.

Sunday, February 03, 2008 3:37:00 AM  

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