Monday, March 09, 2009


I returned to Vietnam at the end of January and was amazed how much had changed while I was away. The weather, for one thing. For some reason, the rainy season had lasted well into December last year, five weeks later than I suspect it usually does, so returning to dry and breezy, very sunny, eighty-degree Hồ Chí Minh City was quite a change, indeed. Also the hat store near our house had turned into a coffee shop. The empty brick building that used to be a Korean restaurant, even nearer to our house, had also become a coffee shop. There was also a new coffee shop next door to the ill-advised shark fin restaurant down behind the People's Committee building. Across the horizon, many of the buildings under construction were a lot taller than they'd been when I left. There were many new billboards sparkling on the skyline. I'd returned the weekend before Tết. Much of the city was already closed. Monday was the Lunar New Year. The whole length of Nguyễn Huệ, from the Rex to the Sài Gòn River, was blocked, even to scooters, and decorated with yellow flowers and bull sculptures. We spent our Saturday researching which restaurants planned to remain open over the four-day holiday. All the grocery stores were closed. Tết was Sunshine's week to be the emergency after-hours duty contact for work, a daunting prospect over a week-long holiday when all hours are "after". Since we were unable to really go out in all the celebratory noise, fearing a missed call, we stayed home on New Year's Eve. Speaking of sparkling on the skyline, we were still able to watch a pretty damn impressive fireworks display over the river just southeast of our living room window. Laissez les bon temps roulez.... [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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