Everyone’s always talking about how Hanoi shuts down during Tet, the Lunar New year, but the insane build up to that special little day gets a lot less press. The streets fill with cars and motorbikes and even the sidewalks turn into makeshift lanes during rush hours. Families flood in from the countrysides. People carry clementine trees on the backs of their bikes and goldfish, paper money and other lucky votive symbols are sold at markets throughout the capital. It’s difficult to walk a single block without seeing Chuc Mung Nam Moi (Happy New Year) hanging from some shop window or doorway. It’s always a bit hectic here, but the last few days before the lunar calendar turns over truly take the cake. The storm before the calm, if you will.
I’ve been pretty busy lately, and will be leaving for Singapore in a week, but it still felt good to take a walk around and do some shooting for myself. I’m hoping to get out again tomorrow and the next day, between other meetings and assignments. We’ll see. Here’s to the Year of the Tiger. And whatever auspiciousness it brings along with it.