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The Streets of Hanoi, Vietnam

25 June 2012

The hustle and bustle of Hanoi came as a pleasant change of pace after the unstructured, slow pace of Bali.  Hanoi features the quintessential chaos of a proper Asian city.  Motorbikes clutter the sidewalk, serving as a makeshift parking lot, forcing you to brave the streets amongst the sea of cars, motorbikes, and pedestrians.  There is a method to the madness in Hanoi, but it takes some time to uncover.  To the untrained eye, it’s simply pandemonium.  Motorbikes driving in all directions, on all sides of the road.  The beep beep beep’s that seem to simultaneously communicate “Watch out!”, “I’m coming”, and “just a head’s up that I’m here.” 

Crossing the street is playing a real-life game of Frogger.  Red & green lights mean nothing.  Pedestrian crosswalks mean even less.  You must simply take a leap of faith and begin walking, ever so slowly, and have faith in those around you to adjust their path.

It is chaos.  However, it is also organized chaos.  There’s no road rage, and most near misses are met with neutrality, or perhaps even a smile.  The drivers are focused.  They anticipate the moves of other drivers and pedestrians.  And it works.  


  1. WAAAHHHH it looks like home. Lady you have no idea how much I miss living in Vietnam. I am so glad you were able to experience the traffic. It's insane right? Like ALL THE TIME. I trust that they have it under control because after two years of living there we weren't ever involved in an accident. Only the time we ran into the oil slick - but that's another story. I can't wait to read more about your adventures. I hope you're having too much fun.

  2. my brother used to live in vietnam and loved every minute of it!
    i really want to visit. great photos!!

    xo the egg out west.

  3. No road rage? That sounds so nice! Glad you are enjoying your time in Vietnam!

  4. Gah! This makes me want to travel sooo badly!

  5. Wow looks like we could take some anti-road rage lessons from Vietnam...seems like a great place to visit!

  6. That was a cool video - never thought I'd be entertained by traffic, but it almost reminded me of a ballet. Like you said, it's organized chaos. Lol. I suppose that's part of the problem w/ US traffic - no one is paying attention to the road so if someone cut in front of us, we'd hit them accidentally. They're actually paying attention there (as opposed to texting while talking to the kids while putting on mascara), so able to anticipate the moves of the other drivers/walkers/bikers more easily. We really could learn a lot from them!

  7. That's exactly how Mexico is. When I studied abroad (read: studied south), I was like, "WTF?! What is happening?" And then I got used to it. Oddly enough, because it IS organized chaos, I felt like there were fewer accidents compared to the U.S.


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