Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stepping into Traffic: Learning to cross a sea of motorbikes in Hanoi

    Today I learned how to cross the street in Hanoi. You cannot look both ways but instead you must step into the motorbike filled street blindly and let them move around you. I found myself in the middle of a five way intersection surrounded by a sea of motobikes. I had followed a small group of people who looked like they knew what they were doing, and sure enough we crossed what seemed to be an impassable road. I wish I had this on film.
    This step into traffic must have given me courage, for later that day Lindsay and I strapped on Hello Kitty helmets and took a motorbike ride from a nice lady who worked at a restaurant. We had just finished dinner and had only five minutes to get to the water puppet show.  The lady offered to ride us on her motor bike, and at first we were scared- and told her so. But, she had "20 years of expreince on a motor bike in Hanoi!" So why not? She turned out to be an excellent driver and refused to take a tip saying she was helping us to be "friendly" not for money.   We also wore a traditional hat and held a stick over our shoulders filled with pineapple against our will, but more on that another time.

The five way intersection where we stepped into a sea of motor bikes in oder to cross. 

This was the day after we stepped into traffic in this intersection. I'm feeling confident! Ignore those pedestrian crossing lines, everyone else does. 


  1. That's so awesome! This sounds like a great start to an awesome adventure!! When you and Kelly decide to take (another) trip to that region, you let me know!

  2. The trip is awesome so far,thanks! I am here with a friend but would love to come back to the area with Kelly and we will have to get together. As a side note, I ended up being flown to Osaka and was stuck there for a day due to a tropical storm in Tokyo (where I had a layover ) I was thinking of you guys and wishing we had landed closer so we could have gotten together!