Auck Ward

A Honeymove Blog

Tag: hanoi

Auck Ward Digest: October 2014

Cat Cafe Kiwi cats

October 2014 has been nuts. We left our apartment in Washington, D.C., took a road trip through the southern U.S., said goodbye to friends in Nashville and family in Atlanta, took a plane Los Angeles, said goodbye to friends and family in Los Angeles, went to Japan, went to South Korea and went to Vietnam.

You might be exhausted by that sentence. It’s a lot. And we’re only half done with the trip.

Over the last few days, we’ve settled on a November and December itinerary. From Ho Chi Minh City (where we are currently touring for a few days), we plan on traveling to Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia before heading to New Zealand for Christmas.

If you’d like to review what we’ve done over the first half of the trip, here is an archive of our adventures. I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog so far as it’s been a really fun experience. Any feedback or blog post ideas are much appreciated and I hope you will keep reading.

Ideas? Suggestions? Jokes? Just want to say hi? Let’s chat in the comments.

Vietnam

Vietnam flags on Halong Bay cruise ships at sunset.

How Will A Tall Husband Deal with the Overnight Sleeper Bus?

I Miss My Couch: Not Homesick, Creature-Comfort Sick

Cruising Ha Long Bay

Zen and the Art of Walking into Hanoi Motorbike Traffic

South Korea

Multiuse unit in a room at Small House Big Door

Seoul: Small House, Big Door, Cool Hotel

Japan

Osaka bento box with Asahi beer. Photo by Warwick Meade.

Hiroshima-Style Japanese Pancakes

Shinkansen and Ekiben: Eating all the JR Train Station Bento Boxes

How Will a Tall Husband React to Sleeping at a Ryokan?

Visiting a Cat Cafe in Tokyo

Surreal Experience Hearing Clean Bandit’s ‘Rather Be’ in Tokyo

United States

Flying Singapore Airlines’s A380 LAX-NRT

What I Carry On Board for Long Haul Flights

Why Do I Get Sick When I Slow Down?

Alleged Auckland ‘Poo’ Flight Path?

Photo 1 by our friend Cathy, photo 2 by Kiwi, photo 3 by Tina, photo 4 by Kiwi

Zen and the Art of Walking into Hanoi Motorbike Traffic

HANOITRAFFIC from warwick meade on Vimeo.

Don’t worry, it happens to everyone when they first get to Hanoi.–”Vietnam,” Lonely Planet, page 9.

What the authors meant by “it” is that you get lost in the many streets and alleys of Hanoi’s Old Quarter.

I remember reading this sentence a few times in the past, using the sentiment to console myself when faced with the reality of crossing the street in Vietnam, facing a steady stream of motorbikes.

Motorbikes are the primary form of transportation in Vietnam. The Wall Street Journal, citing Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport, puts the number of motorbikes in Vietnam at 37 million. That’s roughly one for every three people in Vietnam.

There are so many motorbikes in Vietnam that there was a news report of proposals to ban motorcycles in cities. There are cars, vans and buses also sharing the road, but not nearly as many and they’re just big boulders trying to get through narrow streets.

Motorized traffic doesn’t stop often in Hanoi, or elsewhere in Vietnam really. There are traffic lights and drivers obey them, but there seem to be fewer in Vietnam than in an American city. Which makes crossing the street in Hanoi terrifying at first. I kept thinking of George Constanza’s Frogger experience from Seinfeld.

In order to make it across the street, I hid behind Kiwi and acted like his shadow, so wherever he crossed, I just followed. It was kind of romantic in a way: I need to be near you [please make sure I get across safely].

After a couple of days, the shock of crossing the street wears down and the act itself becomes fun. You become part of the flow. A friend recommended to look motorcycle drivers in the eye, so that they will see you and move around you. That does work, and I’m thankful for that advice. I would also recommend downing one beer (just one) to take the edge off. That way, you can move across an intersection or street in a Zen-like, give-zero-cares manner.

If anything, crossing the street in Hanoi is basically an exercise in Newton’s first law of motion. Things will stay in motion until something acts upon it: Motorcycle traffic will continue at the same rate and pace until a pedestrian appears, then drivers change speed and direction accordingly.

Science can be comforting sometimes.

© 2019 Auck Ward

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑