Thursday, September 30, 2010

Motorbike madness

On Day 3 of my visit to Ho Chi Minh City, I finally got the chance to leave the hotel. On today's agenda was a factory visit outside of the city, so a car picked me up to ensure that I got to the right place.

The streets of Ho Chi Minh are swarming with motorbikes. It's a pretty unbelievable sight - thousands of people on their bikes, zipping along, moving with or against the "flow" of traffic, weaving through each other and through any cars in the road and basically causing chaos.

At first, it's simply overwhelming, but soon you realize there's a certain rhythm to it. People aren't really aggressive drivers like in the states and there seems to be an unspoken rule about road etiquette. Even when the traffic lights are out (which is often, thanks to unstable electricity), people maneuver through intersections just fine, not really stopping for each other, but slowing down to make way for oncoming or turning traffic.

The only place I've visited that compares is Delhi, but there the density of motorbikes doesn't quite compare to what I've seen today. And where there are motorbikes in Delhi, they're usually loaded with entire families, which I haven't seen here in HCMC ... as much.

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