Expensive “Mai” (apricot flower) trees are readily available for sale at Tet (Lunar New Year) flower markets in Ho Chi Minh City, with some costing as much as dozens of thousands of U.S. dollars. With Tet around the corner, “Mai” trees, which are one of the commonest flowering trees to display around the home for the occasion, are currently in great demand in the city. Prices fluctuate between VND500,000 (US$23.3) apiece and a whopping VND700 million ($32,620), depending on the trees’ size, age and number and quality of buds. Tet begins on February 19 this year, with festive activity to linger for around one week after that. (Young People) newspaper, Giang Kien Hoa, 66, who lives in the city’s outlying district of Thu Duc, owns three “Mai” trees aged between 80 and 100 years. The trees boast large bases and gorgeous shapes, are laden with buds which promise astonishing flowers, and fetch around VND500 million each. One of them costs VND650 million ($30,290). Thanh Nien quoted Hoa, the owner of Sau Hoa Mai Shop, as saying that the tree measures roughly 1.37 meters in diameter and stands 5.5 meters tall. It boasts incredible twists and healthy boughs and will yield large, awesome flowers. The tree has had no human intervention whatsoever, Hoa assured. The second tree, which is offered for VND550 million ($25,630), has no human intervention either. The third one, which is estimated at VND600 million ($27,960), was shaped as an octopus’s tentacles by artisans since it was young….