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

They walked on, thinking of This and That, and by-and-by they came to an enchanted place on the very top of the Forest called Galleons Lap, which is sixty-something trees in a circle; and Christopher Robin knew that it was enchanted because nobody had ever been able to count whether it was sixty-three or sixty-four, not even when he tied a piece of string round each tree after he had counted it. Being enchanted, its floor was not like the floor of the Forest, gorse and bracken and heather, but close-set grass, quiet and smooth and green. It was the only place in the Forest where you could sit down carelessly, without getting up again almost at once and looking for somewhere else. Sitting there they could see the whole world spread out until it reached the sky, and whatever there was all the world over was with them in Galleons Lap.
Suddenly Christopher Robin began to tell Pooh about some of the things: People called Kings and Queens and something called Factors, and a place called Europe, and an island in the middle of the sea where no ships came, and how you make a Suction Pump (if you want to), and when Knights were Knighted, and what comes from Brazil. And Pooh, his back against one of the sixty-something trees and his paws folded in front of him, said “Oh!” and “I didn’t know,” and thought how wonderful it would be to have a Real Brain which could tell you things. And by-and-by Christopher Robin came to an end of the things, and was silent, and he sat there looking out over the world, and wishing it wouldn’t stop.
— A.A. Milne, The House At Pooh Corner

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