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Posts tagged ‘Ho Chi Minh’

Vietnam, Part 4: Emergence in Hanoi

This is a the Duong Dong day market. Notice how many motorbikes are in this picture. That is INSIDE the market, like next to all the food. Northern Californian hippies wouldn't be too thrilled...

This is the Duong Dong day market. Notice how many motorbikes are in this picture. That is INSIDE the market, like next to all the food. Northern Californian hippies wouldn’t be too thrilled…

Crossing the street in Vietnam is a feat of derring-do. I’m sure there are areas of China or Indonesia with an even greater degree of clusterfuckery, but Vietnam’s driving conditions are certainly deserving of mention. In most cities, the problem is congestion—how quickly you can move through the urban system—because too many cars, SUVs, and busses will collapse a roadway like a blood clot in an artery. However, when the dominant mode of transportation is the moped, a full-scale collapse is virtually impossible because mopeds are both maneuverable enough and compact enough to fit through impossible gaps in even the worst traffic. In these situations, the problem isn’t congestion; it’s chaos. If you’ve been to Rome, you’ve got an idea of what I’m talking about, but Vietnam is an order of magnitude more chaotic than Italy, Europe’s most moped addicted country. Read more

Vietnam, Part 1: Om Nom Nom

I’ve been back from Vietnam for a week and a half now, but with the exception of a dribble of status updates and a changed profile picture (WATER BUFFALO!), my post-trip internet presence has been pretty anemic. It’s just that responsibilities backlog and strides are hard to hit, especially when you board a plane in Vietnam and disembark into a landscape that is LITERALLY lashed by the winds of Siberia. As HCB would say, it’s Seoul cold right now.

The problem is that, with so many stories from Vietnam, it’s kind of hard to decide where to start. For the first week, we kept things easy, only hitting two southern destinations, Ho Chi Minh and Phu Quoc, but for the second week, HCB was left to find his way home to Seoul, while I traveled north to visit Hanoi, Halong Bay and Sapa. Not having a better organizing principle, I suppose chronology will do. Read more