HCMC Dining Guide

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Walking Dead: Saigon Edition

This past Saturday night Saigon was invaded by zombies. In celebration of Halloween Wake Up Saigon, the same group who put together International Pillow Fight Day, a huge water gun fight, and a large-scale scavenger hunt over the past year, organized the city's first zombie walk. These are the types of events Saigon needs more of, and it was great to see a huge turnout for this.

Things started at a bar across the street from the Bitexco Tower, where people gathered to drink and get their make-up done. A friend of mine used glue, toilet paper and paint to turn me into a zombie, and she did a great job:
photo courtesy of Alex McMillan
There was also a group of local make-up artists working on people, but they didn't seem to quite get the idea. I kept hearing them say 'cute' in Vietnamese, and they turned a couple of girls into cats. We tried explaining that cute wasn't what we were aiming for - we wanted disgusting, gruesome, anything but cute. Still, most people ended up looking pretty good, with a few standouts including a zombie priest and a guy with a bloody prosthetic arm. Around 9pm we started the walk, and as we flowed out into the street I realized how enormous the crowd was - according to one news article there were 400 of us.

 We immediately attracted a crowd of curious onlookers - many people were curious as to what was going on, but a number of children and women were truly frightened. As we staggered towards Phatty's a little girl came around the corner right in front of me and instantly bolted in the other direction. Inside Phatty's a young Western woman bumped into me and turned to apologize. When she saw my face her eyes bulged, and then she said "Ohhh yea...it's Halloween! I was worried for a second..." There was no way we would all fit into a bar, so we swamped the street and tried to frighten a few taxi drivers before wandering over to the Opera House.

As we passed many of the city's most prominent landmarks people stopped their motorbikes and stared at the huge mass of zombies stretched across several blocks. We terrorized one particularly scream-happy group of girls in front of a Circle K by the Caravelle and then took over the Vasco's courtyard. The organizers were amazed at the turnout, and it was clear that everyone was having a great time.

We eventually headed towards Ben Thanh market, though by this point the group had dispersed and our numbers were dwindling. We still managed to make a little girl on a passing motorbike begin bawling, and once we made it to Pham Ngu Lao we were attracting the attention of both locals and tourists. I loved seeing how people reacted to us. My make-up was particularly humorous, as the left side of my face was mostly normal, so people who saw that side of me thought nothing until I turned and exposed the right of my face, which looked horribly graphic. Several people walked up to me and demanded, "What happened to you?!"

After a few more drinks at the Spotted Cow I decided it was time to head home. This was a really enjoyable night, and I look forward to taking part in more Wake Up Saigon events in the future. Here's some more on the walk:

This story is in Vietnamese, but I'm in one of the pictures, as every Vietnamese person I know has now told me: link

An English story from Tuoi Tre News: http://www.tuoitrenews.vn/cmlink/tuoitrenews/fun/saigon-invaded-by-zombies-photos-1.90236

Here's a video of us crossing Nguyen Hue Street from Nam Nguyen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oe8acaoLHW8&feature=plcp

Finally here are more great shots from Alex McMillan, one of AsiaLIFE's photographers: http://www.alexbyalex.com/zombiewalk/

1 comment:

  1. Love it!! I hope there is some video footage of the reactions. Glad you had fun!