Sunday, February 17, 2008


With a bit of a delay - but it's the time I needed to learn it - I wish you a great Lunar New Year. And as I forgot so many people for the "classic" New Year wishes, here's an opportunity to catch up... Lunar New Year, or Tet, is the most important time of the year in Vietnam, it's altogether Christmas, New Year and many things. Wishing Happy New Year - Chuc Mung Nam Moi (with diacritic accents, but I don't have them) - to everyone you meet during this period is well appreciated.

Speaking of time, as you know I had it tough at the beginning, fortunately my neighbours in the appartment above have a rooster which very gently starts crowing at 5 am to make sure I'll be on time for work. My neighbours below, on the other hand, understand the importance of traditions, and very much enjoy burning papers on their doorsteps - as Ha explained me, the spirit of our ancestor are flying around us, and burning papers that symbolize money - or sometimes money itself - pleases them and brings luck to their poor mortal survivors. I saw many people doing that on the streets, but wasn't aware this was an inside habit as well, until yesterday, when I was alarmed by a strong smoke smell in the appartment. I checked outside, and saw the hall covered with thisk smoke, which made me immediately fear that the buidling was on fire! I quickly packed my important belongings, went down to see the guard - I used the lift, and scary images of a burning lift falling down with me inside very helpfully came to my mind - who didn't seem to realize at all that lives were at stake and who looked at me like I was some kind of stupid westerner (which I actually am - anyway, I have some personal issue with that man, but I'll explain that in another post). I called Ha who explained me what all that was about, and I went back to the appartment, with opposite feelings of relief and embarrassement...

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