Dragon Dance Level Up

Even back in Manila and while working in China Town for a few years, I have had my share of dragon dance during the celebration of the Lunar New Year. Even street children join in the festivities.
 photo maxresdefault 1_zpsmvwtzfro.jpgWhen we moved here in Vietnam which is largely influenced by the Chinese culture and traditions, well, dragon dances are not only the norm during the Lunar New Year, but also during store openings.

 photo 20150220_171154_zpseyj6ei4d.jpgWith their festive colors, you can’t help but stop at your tracks and just watch the group of men dancing in perfect synchronicity.

 photo 20150220_171215_zpsojiyjaye.jpgThe thundering drums is the perfect accompaniment for such an event.

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While this long dragon is the usual —-

 photo 20150220_170806_zpsuyrqsofv.jpgAdditional shows are included like these kids performing some fight moves —

 photo 20150220_171750_zpskb94zuap.jpgThis is not usual. So it was nice to watch this.

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But of course the usual dragon will always be present.
 photo 20150220_170450_zpsztesm1ty.jpgBut then you have this!

 photo Fotor_142443106758523_zpsihbthcxo.jpgDragon pole dance!!! Can you imagine? There were two kids up there!

 photo Fotor_142443099425698_zpsjdxq5see.jpgHow? I have no idea!

 photo Fotor_142442650822460_zpslu8jobrx.jpgAnd then another evolution of the dragon dance is  —-

 photo 11001549_10206082023238470_5060672218607399040_o_zpsyzsklqnx.jpgPhoto by Oliver Reyes

I guess you have to change the program sometimes, eh?

 photo 1453299_10206178210313195_5892273667147773234_n_zpsqupgll9x.jpgPhoto by Nix Juban

Seen any interesting dragon dance over the new year?

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Food Trip: Tuk Tuk Thai Bistro

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I forgot how much I love Thai food until I set foot inside Tuk Tuk. Been hearing lots of good feedback about it a few months ago but seriously, Saigon has many terrific restaurant choices that you just can’t choose!

So during Tet Eve, I browsed through the list of open restaurants and luckily, Tuk Tuk was open till 9 PM. I called them up and reserved a table for our small family.

We ordered the Yam Pla Duk Foo (Fluffy fried catfish with spicy mango salad), Peek Gai Thord Ta Krai (deep fried chicken wings with lemongrass), Khao Pad Tom Yam (Tom yam fried rice with prawns & mushroom), Pad Thai, and the Tom Yam.

 photo 20150218_194124_zps5hmcaekg.jpgTom Yam

 photo 20150218_194112_zpsuytkg6my.jpgPeek Gai Thord Ta Krai

 photo 20150218_193950_zpslbnk3r3o.jpgKhao Pad Tom Yam

 photo 20150218_193620_zpsapq3iyht.jpgYam Pla Duk Foo

 photo 20150218_194154_zpsgbeo0dqq.jpgTom Yam

The verdict? The food is really, really good. Tastes like authentic Thai cuisine and not pricey. This is my new favorite Thai restaurant in Saigon! :)

Tuk Tuk Thai Bistro
17/11 Le Thanh Ton St., D1
Ho Chi Minh City
(028) 35218513

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The End of Tet 2015

 photo Fotor_142466274474867_zpsuvdrvddr.jpgWhat to do on the last day of the Tet one week holiday? Grab the chance to bike a bit. And I mean a bit. We set lofty goals this morning and it got us back to Phu My Bridge. We did make it up the bridge last month, so before we head back to the grind, hubby and I decided to visit it again.

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But this time though, we didn’t care much about going anywhere else. May be we’ll do this our monthly thing until we overcome the weary muscles taking us up.

 photo Fotor_142466265529649_zpscedakfz2.jpgWhile resting at the top, must have some evidence I went up right? So I took this shot. :P

 photo Fotor_142466292251649_zpsnrngjzg8.jpgBefore we went down, a lady on a road bike said hi as she pumped her way up effortlessly. Ugh. So envious. A few moments later, a young Vietnamese guy on a no-gear bike was biking his way up too. WTH?

 photo IMG_20150223_103138_zps2gcqfhuo.jpgSo we went back down to D7 from where we came from and lo and behold, no 10 minutes later, the same lady on the road bike came riding back up! WHOA! That’s her  on the left making her way back up the bridge. ARGH!

While I on the other hand couldn’t even go down the bridge because I fear about going up again on the other side. SIGH.

How did your Tet holiday go?

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Flower Street 2015

Every time Tet rolls in, I am always excited for the flower displays around the city — particularly in District 1. This year, they had the Flower Street along Ham Nghi.

 photo 20150217_103728_zpsnh6gpqhb.jpgOf course since it’s the year of the goat (or the sheep or the ram), it is the centerpiece of the Flower Street.

 photo 20150217_095405_zps5xb5rwfw.jpgWe went on the second day of the display late in the morning so there already was a huge crowd. I just wanted to view the flowers before everything wilts. :P
 photo 20150217_103828_zps5rakuqks.jpgJust look at that crowd!

 photo 20150217_102806_zpsv7z7yy2i.jpgI could hardly get a decent photo.

 photo 20150217_101847_zpskegsc8hb.jpgThis area was popular for shots —

 photo 20150217_101150_zpsrg0muda1.jpgWith two tots in tow, we couldn’t view all sadly. Well here are my favorite shots from the bunch I took.

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A tribute to the metro rail under construction.
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This was kinda weird. But hey, signs of the times.
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This is cute. :)
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 photo 20150217_100016_zpsh6td2wh8.jpgIf you haven’t gone, tomorrow is the last day! Check it out!

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Tet Fireworks 2015

 photo Fotor_142424606088822_zpssohofawy.jpgOn Tet Eve, we brought our family to District 1 to watch the fireworks display. All we wanted was a high perch to view the night skies unencumbered. We tried watching a couple of years ago along Ham Nghi but my youngest son fell asleep and it was such a hassle carrying him while watching the fireworks on the street.

 photo Fotor_142424760083211_zpsieal5bjj.jpgLuckily we scored a corner room at Pullman Saigon Hotel. Even without the fireworks, the room was worth it. Waking up to a view of Saigon is such a treat.

 photo Fotor_142433025037043_zpskpradasx.jpgSince Tet Eve is also Ash Wednesday, we attended the Holy Mass at the Pastoral Centre and got back to the hotel by 9 PM. Traffic was light in some areas but when you get to the city center along Ben Thanh Market, there were so much motorbikes and people on the street.

 photo Fotor_142433020996512_zpsvo6u9kxr.jpgBy 10 pm, Tran Hung Dao street from Pullman did not allow four wheels anymore. Only motorbikes were allowed into the city center. We saw some groups get down from their cabs to walk a kilometer to Ham Nghi were the fireworks can be clearly viewed.

 photo Fotor_142432974248770_zpseoxj9uuf.jpgThen starting at midnight, the sky lit up for 15 minutes to welcome the Year of the Goat or Sheep or Ram. :P We could actually see 2 fireworks display from our room but the nearest was of course from the Saigon River.

 photo Fotor_142432980645465_zpsawgawkao.jpgWe saw lots of sunflowers. There were hearts and smileys but I was unable to capture it on camera.

 photo Fotor_142432969722972_zpsz3hgdexk.jpgBelow are some more shots I took. Don’t expect too much!

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My eldest son loved the fireworks so much that he is now incorporating fireworks into his Minecraft.

 photo Fotor_142428021157351_zps9x1hjual.jpgWelcome 2015! Be nice!

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Chuc Mung Nam Moi 2015!

Can’t believe we’re celebrating our 6th Lunar New Year already in Saigon!
 photo tete_zpsgjkwrkjq.jpgHappy Year of the Goat or Sheep!

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Shot from the Spots: Thu Thiem Bridge

 photo Picture12_zpscyeldgpo.jpgSo a few weeks back, we had a short trip ’round the city and we ended up over Thu Thiem Tunnel.

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These days we have perfectly cool morning weather that you don’t realize you’re frying already under the hot sun.

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From across, you have an unencumbered view of Nguyen Tat Thanh and Ton Duc Thang streets.
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The floating restaurant, Elisa is a beautiful ship!

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And of course, the Bitexco Financial Tower —

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The only thing that marred the view is the building to the left of Bitexco. I just wish they’d finish it already. It has been YEARS!

 photo Picture11_zpsertm7gqn.jpgThis spot on Thu Thiem is a park as well. And people can mill around freely. There are no establishments around so this is a terrific place to chill.

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I would love to come back in the evening to see the lights. Am sure the Lunar New Year fireworks from this view will be picture perfect!

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