HCMC Dining Guide

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Christmas Animals

I promise, this is the last holiday-related post. One thing I find highly entertaining about the festive season in Saigon is the presence of very strange decorations. I'm not sure where people get ideas for these things from, but they seem to think that, as long as they include Santa and a tree, they can throw in whatever else they want, no matter how unrelated it is to Christmas.

Exhibit A is the display that was set up at Van Thanh park last year, which I documented in this post: http://mike-alongthemekong.blogspot.com/2010/12/most-bizzare-christmas-scene-of-them.html. Featuring a huge aluminum-foil cannon and a group of Santa gnomes that were trying to hang themselves, this scene immediately became a favorite of mine. With this fantastically hilarious decoration still fresh in my mind, I couldn't wait to see what this Christmas would bring. While there was nothing that matched the sheer oddness of Van Thanh's old display, there were two worthy contenders.

First up is the group of decorations on Truong Dinh, near my house. This display was actually pretty ho-hum, except for one reason: there was a real 'Noah's Ark' theme running through it. First, we have a male and female version of the rare Leopard Deer.
Next, two rams.
Then, an elephant and a cat with some very unhealthy-looking spots on it. This is a rather odd couple, it must be said.
Ah, back to normalcy. Zebras! Because, just like the giraffes I saw in a display last year, nothing says 'Winter Wonderland' like animals from sub-Saharan Africa!
If I'm here for Christmas next year, I hope to be able to cross lion and antelope off the list.

The second display worth mentioning is this year's iteration of Van Thanh's holiday cheer. While not living up to the hype generated by last year's masterwork, this is still quite strange, and continues our animal theme, to boot.

The focus here is obviously on the flock of styrofoam sheep, members of which are posing in various positions. The one in the middle, for example, appears to be trying to cover his genitals.
The one on the left is doing the polka.
He looks a bit drunk.
This display also featured one shockingly pathetic sight: the mangled body of one of the Santa gnomes who died in the Mass Suicide of 2010, whose decomposing corpse has yet to be cleared from the scene.
Oh and don't forget the odd snowmen. Which look a bit like penguins.
And, of course, more little Santas dangling precariously from a rope. What is with these guys? The lack of snow must leave them really depressed by the end of the year...
Happy New Year everybody!

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