Sunday, April 3, 2011

April 2, 2011 (Hanoi)

HANOI: WHERE THE TRAFFIC LAWS GO TO DIE: My head is still spinning from a cyclo (aka rickshaw) ride through the 36 Streets of the Old Quarter in Hanoi. The delightful excursion rivals many amusement park rides for near-misses, sharp turns, loud noises etc. Prominent here, of course, are the 3.5 million or so motorcycles-scooters that swarm through the streets. The buzzing is incredible. The notion of a four-way stop would be simply absurd. One comforting thought is that riders generally keep to the right side of the road. Unless they don't. A couple things to remember:
1. Two solids CAN occupy the same space;
2. For every action there is a SEPARATE AND NOT EQUAL REACTION;
3. Force=Mass(x)Acceleration (-) the speed of light.
The honking is crazy (especially after Singapore). I think it's another language. Special honking says:
Get out of the way, I'm going through the red light.
Hey, don't you think my scooter looks good?
Hey, don't you think I look good?
Hey, I think you look good.
Hey, I think your scooter looks good.
I'm speeding up.
I'm slowing down.
I'm thinking about turning.
I'm NOT thinking about turning.
All the while, many drivers are moving great volumes of people and material (see photos). All very ambitious. When it comes to loading things on a motorbike or scooter, our guide, Minh, says, "Anything is possible."

1 comment:

  1. Well put Frank! A memory along those lines: I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City around midnight and the driver from the hotel, who picked me up in an air conditioned mercedes, gave me this huge grin as we're inching through the masses of scooters like a water buffalo in a swarm of mosquitoes and he said "Look!!! 10 million mopeds in Ho Chi Minh City -- 10 million!!!" -- I actually think that number is probably low but it sounded good. Great to find your blog! Dave Doupe turned me onto it. So cool! Best wishes to you guys -- Marta