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Peach blossom Hanoi Tet express

February 7, 2013
Peach blossom and busy roads go together before Tet in Hanoi

Peach blossom and busy roads go together before Tet in Hanoi

By Mic Smith in Hanoi

A bus bound for Hanoi with peach blossom branches strapped to the roof passes.

Lights on the dump-truck ahead flash, its horn deafens, a long vibrato.

The 16 seater dives into my lane an inch in front of me.

Pushes me to the tarmac edge.

Happy new year.

Chuc mung nam moi.

My rented Honda from Hanoi buzzes along with the menagerie of wheels back from the Northwest Vietnamese mountain town of Mai Chau.

Vehicles of every type carry the peach blossom from the mountains to the capital for the Lunar New Year or Tet.

Big buses, mini buses, dinky Daewoo trucks, Lexus SUVs, BMW saloons.

Semi trailers devoted to peach trees, other trucks carry the regular loads but on top of the load, on top of the roof – peach blossom.

The pink bud branches fan out from the back of waspish Hondas.

The annual holiday, the only holiday for most Vietnamese Tet starts next week Feb 10.

Hanoians it seems all have the same idea. It’s the last Sunday before Tet so enjoy a drive to Mai Chau to pick up some peach blossom.

The fertile valley of Mai Chau is famous for its pink blossom.

Some people say the blossoms are blooming late this year, so the good blossoms are expensive.

SUVs with peach blossom branches tied on top park by the market stalls on the mountain pass returning from their buying trip to Mai Chau.

Wealthy Vietnamese step from their cars, black shoes glistening, to bargain with the hill tribe people for live pigs in baskets, orchards, delicious sticky rice in bamboo and vegetables.

Something fresh and different to eat for Tet.

When cars pull up the women scream out welcomes from their million dollar view makeshift shelters full of produce.

Some women wear traditional dress, most don’t, but they all carry traditional woven purses.

From there its a febrile ride to Hanoi on Highway 6 or Quoc Lo 6.

Lawless, mixed martial arts for motorbikes and Goliaths, pumping hundreds of bikes, trucks and cars into Hanoi every minute.

In Hanoi the blossoms are also on the move.

Amid petrol fueled pandemonium old men have potted trees strapped on their bicycle racks, streetside sellers and mobile hawkers dot the streets.

Some peach blossoms find homes, some don’t.

They are a Tet blessing for Hanoi families for a prosperous healthy year ahead.

See other posts about Vietnam

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