We thought New Year would be relatively quiet. The Vietnamese love Christmas but with Tet just around the corner in February we thought New Year would be low key. To celebrate we went for some food at a recommended restaurant. The food was OK, but nothing special, the Dalat wine was interesting, but I wouldn’t want to drink a lot of it: another low- key, vaguely anti-climactic kind of new year. Afterwards we went for a stroll and came upon a group of several hundred, maybe thousand kids of 10 upwards watching a talent show set up on a stage in the centre of town. We watched for a while and tried to squeeze forward to get a better view, but it was coming to an end, so people were starting to move backwards from the stage. Suddenly the music started up again and Abba’s Happy New Year blared out at full volume. The kids went mad, like mass- glee- hysteria, row after row of happy, smiling kids dancing, singing, waving, clapping and just generally being full of good spirit. It was an amazing feeling to be caught up in this wave of glee. Song after song, and Abba after Abba came and went.
At one point we saw a tall German couple get swamped and dragged into the jumping, clapping mob. All we could see were the two, blond heads, standing high above a sea of synchronised dancers. I snapped away like crazy, no flash, just visual noise and it was fun.
At the end a bunch of lads had a dance off, gangnam routines at 10 paces, the crowd went into overdrive. No booze, I can’t imagine that happening here, everybody is too self conscious, and too busy trying to be cool.