3 Million Mopeds & Tet (Lunar New Year)

Trip Start Aug 15, 2007
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Trip End Aug 31, 2008


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Where I stayed
Huong Mini Hotel

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Friday, February 8, 2008

Vietnam seems affluent compared to Cambodia, especially in terms of infrastructure and life conditions..of course the culture is very different and greatly influenced by the French and its Chinese neighbor.

Unintentionally, we arrived in time for Tet - the lunar New Year which happens to be the biggest holiday of the year..so everybody seemed especially busy, rushing through Ho Chi Minh's Streets with their mopeds and the obligatory Tet yellow flower pots somehow attached to their moto.

In a city of 5.4 million people, over 3 million of them resort to driving mopeds. So as you can imagine the city streets are a visual and auditory extravaganza - just trying to cross a street is a feat in itself  - picture Frogger for those who can - a real whirlwind of honking as you wind between them sometimes sacrificing your body as a signal to stop, hoping they will oblige.

For Tet, the city was beautifully decorated with lanterns, lights, flowers etc..of course all in colors of red and yellow. Since it was high season we were lucky to find a cheap room in the touristy Pham Ngu Lao area..not great, but acceptable given the circumstances. We mostly walked around the downtown area where all the action was happening - concerts with Vietnamese pop-stars, flower shows and rat figurines (it's the year of the rat!), and a huge firework display on New Years Eve.

Of course the Vietnamese food is a special highlight too and we couldn't get enough of Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup), the fresh spring rolls in rice paper, all the clay pot dishes, the ice coffee with sweet condensed milk (even for us non-coffee drinkers a delight) and much more.
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