February 2010
« Jan   Mar »

Vacant Streets after Tet

Outside Ben Thanh Market

It’s the first day of The Year of The Tiger 2010 and most stores in Vietnam are closed.  Traffic is extremely light and for once it’s actually a pleasant experience to drive around Saigon.  I had been trying to avoid driving my motorbike the past week because of the insane amount of traffic in the city the week leading up to Tet.  When I had to go out…I just took a taxi. 

Dong Khoi street

Today was a perfect day for a motorbike ride.  The sky seemed especially blue, and the air was devoid of the constant honking that normally pollutes Vietnam city life.  I had a really hard time starting up my bike this morning because the battery had drained down so low from lack of use.  I’m going to use this next week to learn the streets in Saigon while there is so little traffic.  Normally when I drive I just focus on the road in front of me and the traffic around me…today I could actually pay attention to the street names.  I already know all the main streets in Saigon….3 Thang 2, Ly Thai To, Dien Bien Phu, Hai Ba Trung, Le Duan, Dong Khoi, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Cach Mang Thang Tham, etc.  Now I feel comfortable enough to take detours down unknown streets and just freely explore the city; I know that eventually I’ll hit one of the main streets and be able to find my way back home.

Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street

New motorbike drivers should take advantage of the current road conditions to practice…but be careful…with no police around…I see a lot more people ignoring the traffic lights today.

3 Thang 2 street

This last pic is for Caryn, Benny and Khanh…..hope you’re happy. 🙂

Me in my Toucan Sam getup

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Fark
  • RSS

Related Posts:

19 comments to Vacant Streets after Tet

  • That is one thing I like about Saigon during Tet but in the evenings the streets will get packed in District 1 especially after Day 2.

    Oddly enough, this Tet is boring, I am not sure why 🙁

    • odgnut

      After a month and a half here…I’ve lost the ability to be easily amused by crazy crowds, traffic etc. You’ve been here for 6 years…so you must have seen it all by now.

  • When I think I have seen it all, the Vietnamese here will then surprise me. Last week a guy with his “girl” in the motorbike decided to cut me off giving me no time to slow down. His “girl’s” left foot struck my front tire. He was about to get mad at me but she said something… Guy most likely lost his “girl”. 🙂

    You see something new almost all the time. This year I was surprised how packed District 1 was Friday. I could not find a parking spot.

  • Benny

    First, I wish you wealth and health in the New Year. Second, thanks for the pic. Motorbiking in Saigon in Ninja warrior outfit. How fitting? 🙂

    T?t in Houston is same as any other year with one notable exception, freezing cold. If it’s cold in South Texas, you can imagine what it’s like in the Midwest or Northeast. So, the usual qu?t and cúc are not as resplendent as yesteryears, even within greenhouses. We went out for a party Sunday night, and the weather dropped dramatically between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. The bad weather is enough for a VK to opportunitiscally miss “home.”

    It’s surreal to see Saigon streets deserted, but I guess everyone is staying in and not desiring to be the slob who brought bad luck to a household for the rest of the year by being the first one to set foot in the house (t?c xông ??t). Once again, thanks for the pics.

    • odgnut

      I know that Dallas saw quite a bit of snow the past few days….how about Houston?

      Glad to see that you guys are celebrating Tet in the U.S. too. Guess I’m the “slob” that’s going to bring bad luck to my Aunt’s house by roaming the streets right after Tet. 🙂 oh well….that’s what she get’s for hosting a VK who doesn’t know any better.

      Going to Ba Ria with some friends tomorrow. Been sitting on my post about Gia Rai for 2 weeks….haven’t been able to motivate myself to finish it. I will try to get it up by the end of the week. Best to you and your family.

  • Toan Nguyen

    Hi there.
    I just stumbled on your blog a couple of weeks ago and I have been reading it since. Thanks for posting them. It is great to read about life in Saigon. I have been there many times and always find it very cool to see what other people think about it. I was there during Tet last year and I had a great time. But I don’t remember the streets were that empty. I guess this year Tet is more quite than the last.
    Anyway, just want to say hi. And Happy Tiger New Year to you. Keep up the good works. :o)

  • Khanh

    Looking good TD although only 10% of your face is visible but hey, maybe that’s why you look good haha… I like the pics of the empty streets of Saigon, a rare sight indeed.

  • Benny

    Dallas got dumped. Some parts of town lost power, so it was miserably cold. The weather is getting a tad warmer, so it’s not as bad as before.

    Take your time about the Gia Rai post. It’s still Tết over there, so chill.

    I remember twisting off hard one T?t and stumbled home only to find my irate mother telling me to wait in the car for 30 minutes while she goes through her giao th?a ritual.

  • Hey, did I not trademark all Ninja mask photos in Saigon? 🙂

  • Thx 🙂 Hmm, what can I buy with that…

  • Benny

    Damn, you even bother to write a CHECK for a nickel or 1000 (ding) Dong? Postage costs more than that. 🙂

    Kevin – Is that trademark enforceable over yonder or in Japan? It’s nice to see some levity.

    Be well and do good work, gentlemen.

  • Yes Benny, I enforce it with my bamboo sword here in Saigon 🙂

  • Benny

    Dudes & dudettes,

    Threat of violence so early after Tết. How unseemly??!! 🙂 In Texas, we tend to offer the services of Mr. Colt or Mr. Magnum.

    As I am writing this post, an irate and frustrated taxpayer just flew a stolen twin-engine Piper Cherokee into an 7-story IRS bldg in Austin. It’s really SAD what despair can do. He did not submit a flight plan because the weather was sunny and clear so he was within visual flight range.


  • Caryn

    I must admit you look considerably more ninja like than I would have ever thought possible. Don’t let it go to your (already very fat) head. 😉

  • Thuy

    OMG I cant believe those streets are actually empty at Tet. I guess it’s the opposite where Im from. For Tet, the roads are heavy with traffic. People out buying last minute things or out to relatives for the first of the year.

    Im going to surprise my relatives one year and come back for Tet. Ive always wanted to see how it’s celebrated in VN as oppose to how it’s done in the states.

    That’s a funny ninja picture!

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.