Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Happy Hùng Kings day!* Or: happy US tax day, if you prefer. The Hùng Kings' Temple Festival, centered around the Hà Temple in Phú Thọ district, about eighty-five kilometers northwest of Hà Nội, lasts for five days--the ninth through thirteenth day of the third lunar calendar month. Remember: that's counting from Tết, which was mid-February this year. Today, the tenth moon day, is the main day of the festival, celebrating the death anniversary of the first Hùng King, Hùng Vương, credited with founding the Hồng River civilization that, in turn, became the Vietnamese nation. He also inaugurated a dynasty that ruled for something over twenty-five hundred years (2879-258 BC). Wow. But then again, the cited source mentions eighteen generations of Hùng King rule, and it's impossible to square these figures unless one assumes one hundred and forty-five year "generations". It isn't too late to book tickets to Hà Nội for the remaining days of the festival. What you'll see: a thousand-year-old tree, folk singing, bronze drums, and a lot of pungent and gelatinous rice and bean cake desserts wrapped in leaves. I'm not a very big fan of the latter. We spent the day hanging out in the apartment since Sunshine was off work. It never even crossed my mind to see if any Hùng celebrations were scheduled locally; indeed, when we finally stepped out of our home for dinner, we headed down Le Quy Don to eat mighty good but equally inappropriate Thai food. In our defense, the restaurant was hardly empty, maybe I'm not the only one who dislikes Hùng King desserts. On the other hand, we celebrated tax day weeks ago, and might even be able to enjoy this year's ridiculous "stimulus" bonus, which we will, I guess, dutifully inject into Vietnam's thriving economy. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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