Thursday, November 10, 2011

Indie Travel: Celebrate

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Joining in a local festival, holiday or special event is a great way to learn more about a local culture. Share the story of a celebration that meant something to you on your travels. (Celebrate – Day 7 of 30 Days of Indie Travel Project)

The tiring 12-hour bus ride from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City did not prepare me for the jubilation I saw in the streets of Saigon. As the bus entered the city, we caught sight of hundreds of joyous revelers waving huge Vietnamese flags, obviously rejoicing for something that, at that time, I had no idea about.   Amid those red flags and the medley of car horns and festive chanting, I felt a dawning sense of wonder.  I was witnessing a nation in spontaneous celebration.

At the hotel we found out that earlier that day Vietnam won a football match over Malaysia, one of the events in the 2009 Southeast Asian games being held in neighboring Vientiane. The celebrations lasted well into the night, and from my room I could hear sounds of euphoria reverberating around the city.  Its resonance I feel till now as I try to recapture how an event spontaneously brought a city—or perhaps a nation--together.

Coming from a country where basketball and boxing reign supreme and all other sports are relegated to the margins, I marvel at the football fever that has swept countries in the region but managed to skip the Philippines. It is one of several things that, regrettably, separates us from the rest of Asia.


Loree said...

Football fever reaches insane proportions here too. It's one of the few team sports I enjoy watching.

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