Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year!

My New Year's Resolution is to write in this blog, consistently, interestingly, entertaining-ly (I will never be able to follow a resolution that is "stop making up words"). So I'll finally tell all my friends and family (eep! family! watch the language!) about it, and THEIR resolution is to pressure me into writing when I slack off.

I've realized that to write interesting stories about what I have done or plan to do, I will have to do interesting things. So my friends shouldn't feel so bad that I've given them an obligation; perhaps we can do some interesting things together.
I can't promise that I will become a better conversationalist- I'll save it for the blog, haha! And if you do know me, then you'll probably hear things more than once. Or have been present for the interesting things!
For New Year's Eve we went to Ho Chi Minh City. If you're wondering why people still call it Saigon or why businesses will use the name Saigon as opposed to HCMC, it's actually out of RESPECT for "Uncle Ho." I thought it would have meant the opposite, like a resistance to change and a new name. I had actually planned to watch a countdown from my hotel room, but my brother convinced me to be out on the street. My mom and aunt went on their own.
While I'm fairly tall for an Asian girl, this picture makes me look like I am REALLY TALL.
It was a huge street party. People kept telling others to sit down so more people could see. However, this meant there was less room for people. We'd get pushed back in this huge crush. My brother (when I could still see him) laughed and said, Claudia! You don't even have to stand on both feet! And at the time, I was on one tiptoe, being held up by a crush of people. Then, right when I thought the crowd was about to force me to sit, there was a huge rush. I was being pushed from all sides, forward. I imagined this was how stampedes happen, and a terrible stampede just left over 350 people dead in Phnom Penh; I happened to be in Laos when that happened and while rushing with the moving mass of people I did consider how unexpected it would be for me to die in Vietnam. I have avoided a handful of large disasters:
- A bomb went off in Bangkok where we almost decided to watch the New Year countdown but instead we watched a movie (and were very confused when we left the theater)
- The aforementioned Koh Pich stampede
- There was an earthquake in New Zealand and I didn't even feel it. I was on the other side of the island, but my friend felt in the same room.
- My mother and father called me the day before the Boxing Day Tsunami to say, we're either going to the mountains or to the ocean. I didn't go on this trip because we weren't sure I'd have time. They went to the mountains.

That's all I can think of right now, but hey, they weren't small to me.

Anyways, I was not stampeded, and I even found a few little pockets of breathing room. Luckily no one near me was particularly smelly (sometimes you just have to get used to tobacco smoke, and I know Vietnam is very public about it but when a foreigner lit a cigar a Vietnamese girl actually scolded him for it). They also might have had fans going, and there was definitely a breeze (I know because when glitter shot out of the stage none of it fell on me, and I really wanted it to).
The big crowd was for DJ Matt Cerf and Emma Hewitt. I had heard a little, maybe, sort of, about Emma Hewitt. I did not know who the DJ was. I almost felt bad during the Vietnamese artists since I didn't know who they were and I was blocking people who probably did.
Did you know that DJ Matt Cerf and Emma Hewitt are actually very famous? and used to playing even bigger, very very big crowds? Asian crowds tend to be somewhat stoic, although I found some fun people occasionally and orbited around. My brother also told me that when he saw "DJ MATT CERF" on the screen he said, 'yeah right.' He thought they were joking, that they were just putting up cool people or possible just playing his music.

nope! he was there! I saw him! I managed to get pretty close. This close:

You can see him, at the top of the five pointed star.

I really enjoyed New Year's, and I danced with a German girl, but I should have latched on to her and her friends and seen if they were doing anything cool. I ended up seeing the tail end of my hotel's party (the Duxton) and wandering around a little. I lost my brother in the crowd and we didn't have working phones so he couldn't tell me he went out with a group of Vietnamese girls to a cool club called Gossip. Bottle service was $50! I've never even gotten bottle service. So he tells me, we need to always get phones/SIM cards even if we'll only be there a few days. He also said he didn't get to see most of the club because the girls kept dancing with him and he didn't want to just leave them. Oh woe is he, he's got such terrible problems! Haha!

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