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Gooooood Morning Vietnaaaaaaam…. and Happy New Year Too!

WOW!

We finally made it…we are in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam!!

Entry to the Ben Thanh Market


And thus commences our tour of South East Asia. We are looking forward to the food, the drink, the people, the beaches, the cost-effectiveness, the pagodas, the buddhas, the shopping, but most importantly we are looking forward to our upcoming visitors!

My first meal in Vietnam - Pho!!


My Mom and Dad arrive tomorrow in Ho Chi Minh City, and will be travelling with us for a month! Shortly after they return home, Shawna’s sister Carly, meets us in Bangkok for six weeks, so we have a real incredible couple of months to look forward to. Its been over seven months since we saw any of our family in real life… and it is much overdue!

In the time that we have been in Vietnam we haven’t done a lot…basically just waiting for the parents to arrive. We did make a quick trip up to Dalat (more about that coming soon!), but we have just really spent our time walking through Ho Chi Minh/Saigon (for the record, both Shawna and I prefer the pre-war name of Saigon to the current Ho Chi Minh City, but yes they are one in the same).

Craziest orange trees we have ever seen!


As luck would have it Shawna and I arrived in Saigon two days before the Lunar New Year (aka Vietnamese New Year aka Tet). This is similar to the idea of Chinese New Year, with the exception of the time difference. It is generally a very family-focused affair, as opposed to the debauchery that is more common in the Western World (although I am sure there were one or two Vietnamese who were stumbling a little as the fireworks went off).

Walking through District 1, the street are lined with flowers, lights, balloons, performers. Families are out all night long taking in the incredible displays, and Shawna and I were no different. The official New Years Eve was January 22nd. On that night nearly every home had an ‘alter’ in front off of it, with offerings of fruit, flowers, and incense. When Shawna and I went for a post-fireworks snack, we were given a piece of the lucky watermelon from the alter in front of the restaurant. This means good luck to us for 2012!!!

An example of a New Years offering


And then to top off the night, when we got back to our hotel, our hosts provided us with a red envelope (red is a lucky colour) of New Year’s money. Receiving this money is also supposed to mean good luck for the recipient – this is going to be one heck of a year!

One side note on this crazy city: The traffic hear is absolute madness. There are over four million motorbikes on the road, so we have learned to be careful real quick. As best we can tell, the best way to survive crossing the street is simply this: once you start, do NOT stop! Walking at a slow but steady shuffle across the street, keeping your eyes on the oncoming traffic has worked for us so far. They see you coming, and will (hopefully) calculate where how fast/slow they need to go in order to not hit you. Should you panic and freeze up (or change your pace for that matter), and all bets are off. Good times!

Traffic...


Other than that, we have been here long enough to have our go-to restaurant and have secured a great place to stay ($15US/night for an ensuite double with A/C!)

Our favourite restaurant. Saigon Beer for fifty cents? What's not to love?!


We will have plenty of things to show Mom and Dad and many more posts to come about our time in Saigon and the rest of Vietnam.

And until then we leave you with a few pics which we took during the week-long celebration that was Tet!

Chúc mừng năm mới!!

Happy New Year!

And of course we can’t forget about this happy duo ringing in the New Year. I have never seen a tambourine man so dedicated to the cause!

Man selling balloons in preparation for the celebration!

Look at all the things you can do with rice!




The biggest bouquet Shawna has ever seen!





In front of the Ho Chi Minh Museum


...and best of luck in 2012!

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9 Responses to “Gooooood Morning Vietnaaaaaaam…. and Happy New Year Too!”

  1. Jodi February 1, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    Looks great! The picture of Shawna and the long bearded man, made me laugh so hard I almost peed my pants;),lol.

    • Skott and Shawna February 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

      Well, then….mission almost accomplished.

      Thanks Jodi!!

  2. Amy February 1, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    Oh, your post so makes me miss Vietnam!!! My husband and I were in Vietnam during this time last year. Vietnam is a fascinating, unique country that really stood out from the other countries in Southeast Asia. It can be frustrating at times – the fake operators with the same names, the people aggressively trying to sell you stuff, the non-stop action – but we found the good outweighed the bad. How awesome you are able to see and travel with your families. Have a wonderful time! Not a week goes by without use eating fresh spring rolls and pho from our neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant…not the same, but the best we can do.
    Amy recently posted..Our Trip by the Numbers

    • Skott and Shawna February 13, 2012 at 2:12 am #

      We are finding out more and more that it is such an incredible country, and yes indeed that much better when we are able to travel with our parents. We haven’t run into the super aggressive people too much yet, but we hear that is supposed to happen in Hanoi, which we haven’t quite made it to yet. We too have started every single meal with spring rolls or fresh rolls…. I think you are on to something by keeping that tradition alive back in the US. Nice work!

  3. Stephanie Weiss February 2, 2012 at 1:08 am #

    The Lunar New Year is quite a celebration! When I taught in Korea…my desk was filled with gifts :)

    Have a fantabulous time with your family there!!!!

    ps….I saw Jillene and the kids last week& they sure are growing up fast

    • Skott and Shawna February 3, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

      Thank goodness for Skype,eh? It allows us to keep track of those mini-superstars! And yes, we will absolutely have an amazing time with Mom and Dad…thanks Steph!

  4. Dad February 9, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    Hey you guys! Your only job is to keep us domestiques entertained with your travel posts. Since you arrived in the land of 50c beers I have noticed production has slipped considerably. Help me before I turn to reruns of SB commercials!!

    • Shawna February 11, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

      Haha!! I know, we totally started slacking! I hope you like the Dalat blog! It was such a huge tour it took me a little longer to squeeze everything into one post. We loved this trip so much that we’re actually back in Dalat right now and Rick and Jackie just did this exact tour today. Do you think you guys would be brave enough to hop on a motorcycle here??

      • Dad February 13, 2012 at 12:33 am #

        Looks like a fabulous tour I did a simmilar thing in Hanoi on the back of a MB, Its a great way to learn about the area.
        Cheers

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