Today I went for a walk, and found a Christmas shop down the road selling enough Santa costumes to outfit an army. And it wasn't the only one. I could just see another past it if I squinted. And another past that... Christmas isn't a huge holiday in Vietnam. Most of the country is either Buddhist or doesn't follow any particular religion. But if there's one thing the Vietnamese love, it's an excuse to party. Any excuse, really. So every December 24th, District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City gets decked out in holiday finery. Large chunks become impassible with pedestrian revellers. And everyone is merry and bright.
Erin and I spent a happy couple hours just wandering through the crowd. Children in red finery cavorted with sparklers - old men in festive elf hats sipped coffee at an outdoor stand - teenagers in Santa suits posed for pictures with the tourists. It was a spectacle.
So sure, it was 80 degrees and humid. And sure most people were in shorts and t-shirts. But it was Christmas.
And we loved it.
So Merry Christmas, everyone. And a Happy New Year.
-Sam and Erin