Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ho Chin Minh City's Traffic

Ho Chin Minh City's Traffic

In Ho Chin Minh most of the kids didn't wear helmets.
I have told many of my friends that I thought India had the craziest traffic in the world. Marrakesh was pretty bad, BUT now I have to eat my words. My new vote is for Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chin Minh City's Traffic

The city is full of mopeds, thousands of them, and they perform a dance with no practice.
It is the same kind of dance which our motor cycle police practice for many hours and days to perfect for our parades. They whirl around traffic circles in a well-coordinated dance that weaves through each other, it’s really quite amazing and fun to watch. The only problem comes when someone who hasn’t perfected the dance enters the circle which I have to say happens quite often. This then causes momentary chaos. These intruders are sometimes tourists trying to cross their very large streets with five to ten unlined moped lanes. Or a lone untrained moped rider.

Ho Chin Minh City's traffic

My husband and I decided to cross one of these large circles to reach the market that was exactly across the circle. This was a daredevil experience. There are crosswalks but they have no meaning. You feel your hands moving as if you are waiting to leap into a twirling jump rope. Then you’re off walking, running, or skipping through the moving traffic always looking both ways because you never know as they just come out of nowhere. Sometimes you get stuck on a tiny strip of pavement which truthfully adds no true form of protection. Your heart is pumping as this is no joke because you could die. No one stops for you and  if you’re lucky they will go around you if you don’t mess up there dance too much. I found an English woman trembling on one of these strips she asked me if I could help her get across. So I took her arm and said ok now. I pulled her with me  as I was praying she wouldn't freeze up. We made it to the other side of the street where she thanked me profusely. 

Whole families would ride together. Note the little boy on the back moped with his family is reading a book.

Sometimes when you get to the other side and are standing on the sidewalk composing your nerves a moped whizzes by on the sidewalk--and this is not a joke. When we returned to the boat after one of these harrowing experiences one of our friends told us he had just seen a young woman die. She was hit by a moped and they covered her with a sheet.

Ho Chin Minh City's traffic is worse at night partly because it's harder to see.

Ho Chin Minh City's traffic at night

Looking to give someone a ride I'd like to see the brave tourist who would do that. 

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