The road we live on is host to a number of garden centres, all of which truly come to life once a year at Tet (Lunar New Year). Although to say that isn’t quite true: they start coming to life some months before Tet as the kumquat trees emerge from last year’s fallow land and are carefully tended as the bright orange fruits spring forth. But it is in the weeks before Tet that the hoards of customers arrive and the motorbikes and bicycles head off, tree strapped to the back, delivering trees to businesses and private homes.
The roads of Hanoi are always an obstacle course but they become more so just before Tet. Not only does the amount of traffic increase as locals hurry out to buy kumquat trees, peach blossom and gifts, but roads lined with salespeople cause obstructions and large trees, flowers and other articles on the backs of bikes make them even more wobbly and liable to catch your ankles or head as you drive past. Today is New Year’s Eve, so we are hopeful that the roads will calm down for a few days now before normal service resumes.