Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rules of the Road

Since coming to Vietnam I have traveled in several ways:
taxi, motor taxi, pedal bike, jogging, strolling. I have learned a few things along the way. #1 rule in Vietnam when on the road: there are no rules. I have obserived that speed limits do not exist, signal lights are useless, the middle dividing line is just a guideline, and bigger/faster vehicles always win.
Motor scooters are swerving left and right, staying away from real cars. Often the drivers will wear cloth covering their mouth and nose because it can get very dusty... when cruising at 30km per hour.
Biking is a bit easier: yield to everyone. We have some pretty cool bikes actually, pretty much an adult version of the bike I had as an 8 year old (sadly, no banana seat though). The handle bars curve up, i have a bell (I go
dring dring" when I pass slower bikers) and a nice basket for when I go to the supermarket to get some chips. The seat is a bit of a problem for two reasons: it heats up incredibly within the 15 minutes it could be sitting in the sun, burning my bottom quite harshly when I start to cruise; and (althought I never thought I would say this) there just isn't enough cushion on my bottom! I go over bumps and dirt roads and my tush ends up quite sore. I'm sure I will get used to it.
Walking along the streets of Tam Ky isn't too tricky. We have sidewalks most of the time, our biggest risk seems to be turning and responding to each person who wants to say "Hello!" to the foreigner! So far it is still endearing but I hear it will get old fast. Otherwise, watch out for puddles, small dogs and large bugs.

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