Tottering Tet Trees!

by aengelson | January 28th, 2011

Well, Tet (the Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration) is almost upon us, and that means the Vietnamese are getting busy. Buying presents. Buying heaps of snacks and beer. Getting ready to travel to their home towns to be with family. And buying kumquat trees.

The leafy trees with bright orange fruit (they seem more like mandarin oranges than kumquats, but who’s one  to quibble) are basically Vietnam’s equivalent of the Christmas tree. The live potted trees decorate home and businesses and in the weeks leading up to Tet, you’ll see plenty of the trees speeding around Hanoi. Some make their way via truck, but most are strapped on to the back of motorbikes, and it’s a favorite pastime of mine to see just how enormous a tree can fit on on Honda Wave…

We’re off to Bali for our Tet holiday, I may post some updates as we travel, so stay tuned! Chuc munh nam moi!

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About This Site

Andy Engelson is a writer and editor who lives in Hanoi, Vietnam. He's currently working on a historical novel set in the Northwest United States during World War II. He's also a freelance writer, essayist and member of the Hanoi Writer's Collective. In a former life, he edited Washington Trails magazine for six years and before that was freelance journalist. He likes to hike, travel, and play with his family.

Quotable

“I suppose I am dull about many things,” said Dorthea, simply. “I should like to make life beautiful—I mean everybody’s life. And then all this immense expense of art, that seems somehow to lie outside life and make it no better for the world, pains one. It spoils my enjoyment of anything when I am made to think that most people are shut out from it.”
“I call that the fanaticism of sympathy,” said Will, impetuously. “You might say the same of landscape, of poetry, of all refinement. If you carried it out you ought to be miserable in your own goodness, and turn evil that you might have no advantage over others. The best piety is to enjoy—when you can. You are doing the most then to save the earth’s character as an agreeable planet. And enjoyment radiates. It is of no use to try and take care of all the world; that is being taken care of when you feel delight—in art or in anything else. Would you turn all the youth of the world into a tragic chorus, wailing and moralizing over misery? I suspect that you have some false belief in the virtues of misery, and want to make your life a martyrdom.”
— George Elliot, Middlemarch

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