Sunday, October 29, 2006

Saigon is a great city. It is strikingly modern and the people are friendly. Something interesting awaits you on every street corner. There was a lot of things that seemed strange to a typical westerner. A racy fire-eating, flag-burning, show celebrated the lives of some neighbors who passed away the day before (3 in the same day). Bicyclists with wooden rattles roam the streets after dark with small black bags. We later found out (by asking our hotel) that they are advertising "gay massage" for locals and tourists. It was the strangest thing as they were everywhere... you couldn't sit outside a cafe and not hear one for 30 seconds.

One of the most exciting things to do in Vietnam is cross the street. Traffic is mostly motorbikes (scooters) and it is common to encounter streets with more than 10 lanes of traffic. Traffic lights are uncommon and even when there is a light few drivers stop. Riding on a bike is a lot of fun and approaching a busy intersection without slowing down is pretty exciting.

Crossing by foot may be more fun. Basically you just walk across the street at a consistent pace and people drive around you. It's an interesting concept. The rule is don't hit anybody. If the street is full of traffic it is also acceptable to just drive down the sidewalk. We found ourselves surrounded by multiple lanes of traffic on both sides while just standing on a street corner curb. They drive on the right but driving on the left is common as well if the right side of the road is full. Besides not hitting people it is good to make way for larger vehicles or they will hit you. Oh yeah.. the final rule is to honk your horn all the time for no apparent reason. (and never get angry... everybody remains completely calm and horn honking is rarely a sign of somebody being upset)

1 comment:

Alane said...

Your picture of the traffic is great. I can't imagine trying to cross that street! It has to be like the taxi cabs that race through NYC - the only time there is trouble is when someone who doesn't know the system or pattern gets in the way.