Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Still talking about January, here. What I gather about Tết is it usually lasts about four days. Time to get out of town to wherever you call an ancestral home, cook a feast, enjoy the good luck of prosperous celebration, and then return home. Something like that. This year, the New Year was on Monday; obviously everyone began celebrating the weekend before. Count four days from Monday and it's also obvious that nobody was planning to come back on Friday, either. That's what we called the puente in México: that one-day bridge between a holiday and the weekend adjacent. Sometimes you have to work the puente, sometimes you don't. During Tết, many people leave Hồ Chí Minh City to go somewhere else. At the same time, many people arrive in town to celebrate. During the holiday, this equalized and things stayed crowded downtown. But as the week dwindled, those who'd come to the big city party were already leaving again. Meanwhile the puente crowd were enjoying their extra day off then weekend in hometowns across Vietnam. By the time Sunshine's family visited us Thursday night this city's population was at an all-time low. At least that's how it seemed to me. For two or three days it was really very easy to cross the street. Taxi operators could nudge their automobiles up past thirty on the big road to and from the airport. It was a bizarre feeling. It still looked like Hồ Chí Minh City, but change these two things and everything is just strange. I was concerned that Bill and Kate, our visitors, would go home with a misunderstanding about what life around town is really like, with its twenty-four hour never-ending streams of slow-moving traffic. Luckily, they were still around Monday when the status quoed. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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