Archive for January 22nd, 2006

Ho Chi Minh Traffic

Sunday, January 22nd, 2006

Finally, I’m getting around to completing my posts about my trip to Vietnam. In Ho Chi Minh traffic is quite different from anything I’ve ever seen anywhere. Apart from the very few intersections where there are traffic lights, there are apparently no rules at all, or if there are, thousands of vehicles flooding the streets are blatantly ignoring them. The only time anyone stops (it’s actually more like slowing down) is to prevent from crashing into anyone else, and that goes for pedestrians, too. Overflowing into the incoming lane, cutting diagonally against traffic, or entering a one way is done in the most natural way, at an average speed of 30km an hour, enough to throw you out of orbit if you were to hit something. As if that and the numerous potholes and various obstacles covering the streets weren’t dangerous enough, I’ve seen people riding those scooters and motorbikes eating, smoking, emailing on their phones, carrying unbelievable luggage, such as huge water bottles (like the ones you find at the work place), computers, food, construction materials (poles – sometimes 2 to 3 meters!, constructions panels, tools, etc…), boxes, you name it! You’d think that if you were one of the multiple passengers (I’ve seen up to 5 people ride together!) on one of those scooters you’d hold on to the driver as if your life depended on it (oh, wait, it does!), but most of them just casually sit there while reading, eating, smoking, and looking around without even blinking. The first ride I took with my brother-in-law was really scary, but really exciting at the same time. After a few days, I didn’t even hold on to him anymore. Obviously, words or even pictures are not enough to describe what Ho Chi Minh traffic really looks like, so I shot these clips, hope you enjoy them. Depending on your connection speed they may take a while to download, but trust me, it’s worth it. The clips are in MP4 files so you’ll need to install Quick Time, if you don’t already have it.

Clip #1

Clip #2

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: the clip about our trip to the Mekong river is also available here.