I had a topic in mind to talk about Christmas eve but as is the norm in Vietnam……out the window it goes. Things change fast!! I will talk about my day instead. The day started out quiet. University has finished final exams, and it was a school day for others. A typical day. The morning was misty, and a gentle sun burned away the haze by10:00. Shops were open, things were as normal. Little did we know there was a pressure building. A pressure that was impossible to see, but there none the less. After finishing a bit of business and having an excellent lunch, we drove around the city making a few purchase, and discovering some hidden away restaurants to try at a later time. Our search took us down some small alleyways and along the river to a little piece of paradise nestled among banana trees, giant ferns, and a beautiful river view. We checked out the menu… Ahhh it has it all. Frog, snake, eels, and of course the stuff that you would normally see at a good restaurant. Myself?, I have had both frogs and snake, and think they are a very good tasting entrée. We headed back home for a bit before going out to a restaurant we had booked for a Christmas dinner with Ham and Turkey. The food was good and we enjoyed the company. Dinner had ended and Bill’s new girlfriend, a waitresses that we have befriended, asked if we could pick up 2 small chocolate cakes. And that is when the pressure broke! I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that it looked like life here would be like everyday for Christmas. BOY WAS I WRONG!!! As we exited the tourist area to buy 2 cakes, we hit the biggest traffic I have ever seen. The Saigon traffic videos do not do justice to the mayhem we encountered. Wheel to wheel traffic, hundreds of thousands of people in the downtown core. All celebrating Christmas eve. After fighting traffic we made it to a bakery to find they had only 6 cakes left in stock. (I guess cakes and Christmas go hand in hand here) As we were leaving, the bakery was being swarmed by people in search of cake. I could have probably pawned off my 2 cakes for profit. Back into the frightening traffic and we made our way back to the tourist area. We crossed the invisible line into the foreigner area and it was peaceful and quiet again….. eerie!! We delivered the cakes to Bill, who in turn delivered them to the girls, getting himself a kiss. (The whole strategy all along) We stayed for a couple of cool ones, then headed home. It seemed like the party was over as we left. The streets quiet. We turned onto the main drag along the beach to go home and…… WHAM!!!! 10:00 pm and the locals had congregated even more. Traffic was a nightmare and a joy at the same time. There are westerners walking wide eyed and flashing off pictures in all directions. The exhilaration of the party atmosphere… The mass confusion…. And, I think the level of estrogen was higher than the carbon monoxide.. Sometimes it seems this whole country is 20-40 year old women. I truly wish that my camera was able to take night pictures without a tripod. After 6 pm here it is dark. We survived the traffic, and I can now boast that I can drive anywhere in Vietnam. I have the skill, and I now understand all the nuances. (I will talk about driving in a later post.) Here is my theory on what happened tonight. All of the people from school, and the countryside has tomorrow off, so the dawned their mini skirts and headed for the city, probably doubling the population. This whole city is one big party!!
(Another topic another time) I got home at 11:00 pm and it is now 30 minutes to Christmas day. (Christmas eve morning for most of you) I still hear the sound of motorcycles passing our house. Normally a person hears nothing after 10. I am quickly coming to the conclusion that NhaTrang is THE place to have fun and party. Those of you that are humming and hawing about where to go in Vietnam….hum no longer. This IS where it’s at. A final thought…. Strange.. I think this is the first day I did not get a marriage proposal. I did get a wink-wink, nodding of the head to come with her, but maybe the wife being with me the whole day had something to do with it.
It is now Christmas morning. We just got back from eating a high class buffet breakfast in an upscale hotel. The food was good, The majority of the diners were Russians, and acted stereotypically… It was fun to watch
The fun never seems to stop To all of you… Have a wonderful Christmas eve…