Some general thoughts
Chao buoi sang! (good morning!)
So, I'm finally feeling myself this morning...it took a few days to get over jet lag.
Topic today: Traffic. Yes, the streets really are as crowded as they say they are and people are everywhere (as you have seen in the pictures I've been, and will be, posting). The moped/motorcycle (called a "bike" here) is the main mode of transportation and is used to transport everything from people, to animals, to food, to...well you name it. If it can be strapped on, or placed onto, a bike, it will be.
There is s gentle rhythm to the flow on the streets. It consists of an unspoken, mutual courtesy and a dance of patience and predictability. In a nutshell, if you wish to make a turn, you begin a patient, slow, predictable, and smooth movement in that direction and people will begin adjusting their trajectory in order to accommodate you. Horns, btw, are a tool used to let people in front of you know your whereabouts, not to warn of impending danger or voice annoyance. You can imagine the cacophony of sound that constantly fills the air.
If you wish to cross the street, you forget all you mother taught you. You do not wait for a break in traffic or you will be standing on the curb all day. To cross a street you slowly step out and proceed in a predictable manner so people can know where you are planning to go and avoid hitting you. Cross walks are painted on streets but appear to be for decoration as nobody uses one.
Finally, there is only one traffic rule: Size matters and might makes right! The pecking order is: Buses/large trucks rule the day! followed by: large cars (4-door sedans) - small cars - bikes (which make up the vast majority of transport) - 3-wheel pedal bicycles called pedi-cabs (for taking tourists on rides) - walking vendors pushing 4-wheel carts of anything you would want to buy (anything) - bicycles - and finally pedestrians. You learn your place quickly and get he hang of crossing streets within your first crossing.
Tam biet for now!
"Mr. Paul" (in Viet Nam culture, you title the person's given name)
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