How Santa Lost His Head In Ho Chi Minh City

Posted on December 30, 2010


The three nước ngoài (foreigners) in the office were focussed on meeting the 8pm deadline for putting the paper to bed on Christmas Eve. Our Vietnamese co-workers were, as was usually the case, a lot more relaxed about the time.

The office was tinseled up, the mood was festive and bright but my Canadian colleague and I were thinking of our friends, waiting for us in a bar in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. We usually finished after midnight, so the promised early deadline and drinks with non-night shift workers seemed like the best Christmas present ever.

Then one of my young colleagues produced a log cake. The deadline flew out the window. For in Vietnam, food is celebrated and all celebrations include food. This was no time to rush.

We nước ngoài downed tools and wandered over to where the fantastically decorated log cake was being carved up. There was not one but several marzipan santas. My Indian colleague Hari promptly bit the head off a little santa, causing a great deal of consternation. My Vietnamese colleagues were worried Hari had devoured a deity. But after Santa’s significance was explained, it was giggles all round. Hari posed for a photo with his headless Santa.

Later, at the bar, I pointed out how Hari looked especially evil in the picture I took because so much of the whites of his eyes was visible above his irises. And the rest of Christmas eve was spent laughing at Vietnamese, Australian, Canadian, English and American people trying to replicate Hari’s feat.

This post has been entered in the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday-Rental travel blogging competition sponsored by HomeAway Holiday-Rentals

Posted in: Friends, Travel, Vietnam, Work