This morning, we were heading to the medical center for what is, we hope, my final dose of the IV medication. And there was a man carrying an orange tree on the back of his motorscooter. Orange trees, especially with abundant fruit, symbolize good luck, good fortune, probably even fertility. So people buy orange trees for their homes right around Tet (the lunar new year), and decorate them with red ribbons, little ornaments, all kinds of decorations to bring good luck for the coming year.
So yes, there was a HUGE orange tree just driving on down the road. Obscuring the driver of the scooter, looking as if the tree was driving all by itself.
Adding to the festivities - there was a man rolling around a karaoke machine, singing along with it. A modern troubadour. Singing along in Vietnamese. He stopped and sang outside a café, and the customers seemed to enjoy it. Despite the traffic noise as the cars and scooters continued to zoom up and down the road, honking nonstop. Maybe it was just one more percussion instrument on his soundtrack.
3 February is the date of the founding of the Communist Party of Vietnam, so there are banners and flags all over the place. Flags suddenly bloomed over the weekend, more and more, until today, when it looks as if every single building and apartment has a flag flying outside. I don't know if the flags are mandatory, if there's any repercussion if one doesn't fly the flag. Or if all these people are staunch party members and proudly fly the flag. (Not one of those questions one wants to ask.) It isn't a public holiday businesses or even the government close; it's just a national holiday that people commemorate with the flags, banners, other decorations in the street. Literally IN the street, a giant pink lotus blossom in a major intersection with the flags and banners waving around it.
As we were having lunch, minding our own business, a woman parked her motorscooter and ran into a shop, apparently telling her little boy to wait right there for her. Can you imagine being in a society so safe that you can leave your little kid sitting on a scooter outside, and not worry? Little guy was just sitting there, holding on as if he were ready to drive, looking around. He gave me a big smile and waved, so of course I smiled and waved back. He was absolutely adorable, with the big chubby cheeks that seem to be a feature of Vietnamese kidlets. He eventually got bored and climbed down, following his mother into the shop where he found her. They left soon after. But I couldn't decide if I was okay with the mother feeling her little guy was so safe that she could leave him sitting alone, or my Western sensibilities that this was outrageous. (It's just like when we were in New Zealand, and saw women leaving their purses at their seats while they went up to order, or to use the restroom. Can you imagine being able to do that, just leave your purse and walk away, and know it would be there when you returned? Money intact? Wow. Makes me sad for those of us who live in communities and societies where these actions aren't safe. Makes me sad that I've lost that trust in my fellow citizens. Makes me sad knowing that I really can't trust everyone. Just, sad.)
So, we're hoping this has been the last round of IV meds. I'm also on tablets, we have this nasty bacteria on the run, and I'm also on some new inhaler to deal with the asthmatic response to the pneumonia. Going, going, gone. Just like that orange tree zipping down the road.