Tết sees Vietnam's main artery, the AH1, turned into an extremely long thin market. Every available space beside the highway is utilised for selling festival goods Vietnam's New Year jamboree - Tết - is preceded by weeks of manic preparation. As in other countries, the whole population seems to feel the need to refurbish their wardrobes and houses, and to buy at least twice as many presents, and double the weight of food, necessary. Eager to help citizens achieve their goals, enterprising retailers (i.e. nearly all the population of Vietnam) set up stalls on every available square inch of free ground. For this purpose the sides of highways offer ideal sites: a great 'volume' of passing traffic, no rent charges, and easy access. These shots of road side convertions were all taken in Tĩnh Gia. Those jars again, and their place next to the Highway Flowers and trees dominate the areas beside the road -
running for a mile through the centre of the town
The market entrance lined with Tết items - although the attention of the camera holder is on dodging the motorbikes
Sweets (left) and more flowers (right) flank the market entrance. The hen will indubitably be incorporated into the festivities at some point. There are
To the first of these two pages.
To the second of these two pages.
And here are those sweets - the packaging is a little less suave than the Japanese equivalent, but no less thorough
A clip of the road with which the sellers are competing. This was taken before the central barrier was in place. However, the need to ride against the traffic flow is the same as it was in the past!
Being by the roadside allows prospective customers to inspect the goods without dismounting
Knick-knacks, ornaments and gifts are all part of the annual jollifications. Notice the tail end of a 40 ton truck within a few metres
More recently there is a central barrier and wider road; but still, at Tết, there is a land grab for the roadside and it extends as far as your eye can see
Where the countries of northern Europe bring pine trees into their houses for the winter celebrations, in Vietnam it is plumb in blossom, and kumquats in fruit, that fulfil this role. These latter, seen here, are purely decorative, the fruits are far too sour to eat
The range of flowers in a tropical country is endless
Despite the great range of flowers available here in the tropics, there is still room for a vase of plastic blooms that can be brought out again next year
...getting it home is another matter...
Spotting the tree you want is one thing...
...although there are always plenty of willing helpers if the price is right. His eyes, as he steps out onto the AH1, are on those trucks thundering past. More on the AH1 in a few weeks.
And the next page brings Picture Posting to the time of Tết itself
The next page
of this section brings us to the time of the Tết festival. So a page of pictures from past celebrations.
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