On the day of Tet, cars have almost entirely vacated the streets of Hanoi. A few pedestrians go out, in their brightest colors, to celebrate and visit friends and family. These ladies are happy to be seen in their best clothes on what is considered the first day of spring, and the first day of the new year. In China, this year, starting at the same time, is considered the year of the monkey, but here in Vietnam, it is just called a new year.
On other days, most people seem to prefer automobiles or scooters, but today, everyone is on foot. There aren’t any restaurants open, so it is a great time, with a great excuse, to meet some of Hanoi’s most important officials, who have time, on this day, to discuss anything but work. Mentioning anything other than leisurely topics can be reprimanded heavily today by these guardians of good cheer.