Thursday, November 5, 2009

Vietnam Traffic

One of the things that is most legendary about Ho Chi Minh City is its abominable, dangerous traffic.
Vietnam is not really a place designed for the pedestrian, and any thoughts of leisurely strolls through quaint city streets should be jettisoned as early as possible. Any avid walker soon learns that strolling the streets of any city of size in Vietnam is an act of insanity.
Road rules do exist, but in Saigon they are, for the most part, ignored. You need to look left, then right, then left again before you cross a street. And then you need to close your eyes and step out into the chaos, calling on the protection of your chosen supernatural being.
In side streets and alleys the going gets even tougher, because there are no footpaths, and the flaneur is forced to simply try for a place on the street, along with all the motorised traffic.
Should there be the remnants of a footpath, it is mostly used as motorcycle parking or extended display space for shops and restaurants.
Any spare space is taken up by small, illegal carts selling sugar cane juice, cigarettes or bread rolls.
In Ho Chi Minh City these days one sees more and more cars, but I really wonder if they will ever take off. It is already difficult enough getting around on the infinitely more maneuverable motorcycle.

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