Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Can't Go Around It; Can't Go Under It; So Go Right THROUGH It

All over Vietnam, motorbikes abound. They are simply the most economical and most convenient way for the Vietnamese people to navigate throughout their country, whether it's driving amongst the tightly-knit, touristy side streets in Hanoi or through the traffic-induced madness of Saigon. Everyone has a bike. Everyone, that is, but my roommate and I. We walk. And let's just put it this way: the Vietnamese typically don't.

Just ten minutes ago, I was at a crossroads (literally) - I needed to get to the other side of the street in order to purchase a jug of water for my roommate and myself. (We go through these jugs of H2O about as often as the average clean person goes through a pair of underwear - so that is to say, daily.) As I looked to my left, I wasn't surprisd to see an endless number of bikes carelessly careening in my direction, but this sight no longer instills fear in me. I have found that it is best not to hesitate when your foot takes that first leap of faith onto the pavement. People in Vietnam can not wait for an opening in traffic flow: they simply must go. And the bikes will move around them...fingers crossed.

I kind of feel like I'm playing a game of Frogger* with my life. There are only two sets of traffic lights on the entirety of the street that Campus 1 rests off of. And neither of those lights are near my house. So there is constant congestion and also a question circulating in my mind every time I trek across this Highway of Doom: Can I casually walk like this, so carefree and confident that the drivers will instinctively know to move around me, back home in the States?!

Something tells me that if I pulled this kind of stunt in Manhattan, I'd have a month's long stay in the hospital to look forward to, as well as a new hip.

My valiant spirit when it comes to traffic will end here, thank you very much.
* Frogger is an arcade game that was introduced in 1981. The object of the game is to direct frogs to their homes one by one. To do this, each frog must avoid cars while crossing a busy road and navigate a river full of hazards. -

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