Thursday, December 25, 2008


So I stupidly got talked into having dinner with a friend in District 1 tonight. I knew traffic would probably be a bit crazy, as it's been for the past two weeks, with crowds of Vietnamese families taking their kids to see the astoundingly abundant Christmas decorations and light shows.

What I didn't count on was the fat that tonight was ALSO the first leg of the Suzuki Cup final. Which Viet Nam won, beating Thailand 2-1 (thanks, in part, to some dubious refereeing).

For those of you from/in Melbourne, picture Lygon St after Italy won the World Cup in 2006. Put every second person on a motorbike. Multiply the four blocks of one street to a space about the size of the CBD. Absolutely. Packed. With massive Viet Nam flags, and red headbands galore.

The mood is decidedly festive though, despite the inability to move. People seem ready to shout and cheer for just about anything. Person A makes a fuss about Person B else getting in the way of their motorbike. Person C else points out that Person A has only moved abot a meter in the past five minutes anyway. Person B laughs, cheers, and the crowd cheers with him. And then the drumming starts. Banging on anything as a drum - street signs, car bonnets (they weren't moving anywhere fast), motorbike seats. Now THIS is a street party.

I really must learn to bring my camera with me everywhere in this country.

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