Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Street Crossing

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Street Crossing

Crossing the street in Ho Chi Minh City is just short of a death defying circus act.  There are no tight ropes, tigers or clowns in cars, but with so many motorcycles, cars, buses, taxis, women selling quail eggs and people on bicycles you can’t possibly pay attention to it all.  The streets are packed and every time you make it to a four-way intersection it appears that every direction has the right of way.

Matt was hit by a motorcycle on his first day, luckily no injuries were sustained and he was able to pass on his knowledge to me once I arrived.  We have also learned a lot from watching locals cross the street and we have learned to channel their zen and slow steady pace to cross the street without being hit.  I actually really have to give the drivers credit here for doing a pretty good job of avoiding pedestrians in general.  It seems that the key is to not be too distracted by watching all the different motorcycle drivers and instead focus on the end goal of the opposite sidewalk.

Some of the distracting motorcylces you might see include the following:

The motorcyclist, carrying a ridiculously large load.  I have seen people carrying refrigerators, three flat screen tvs and the guy below carrying chairs.

Or how about this person carrying a huge load of flowers.

One of my favorites is the child on board motorcycle driver, I’m afraid to even ride on a motorcycle and I wouldn’t even dream of bringing my kid on one.

My favorite is when you see entire families on the motorcycles and in this case, they have pulled over in a busy intersection to buy quail eggs from a woman on the sidewalk.

But the best way to get an idea of what the motorcycle culture is like in Ho Chi Minh City you have to watch the video at the top of this article that shows you first hand us trying to cross the street.

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Comments

» Tim Morrison :
Dec 29, 2010

Wait until you guys get to New Dehli and India…I saw some crazy stuff…like 12 people riding in one of those 3 seat rickshaws. I can’t wait to start my own trip…36 weeks and counting.

LOCAVORista Reply:

Tim, I’m sure that it will only get crazier and we are excited for that. HCMC ended up being a great place to start, get our feet wet and then move on to India once we’re done with Southeast Asia

» Tara Jenkins :
Dec 30, 2010

Good merciful heavens. :)

» Katie :
Jan 1, 2011

This reminds me of India, except it is much cleaner and missing the rickshaws that Tim mentioned. Glad you captured the traffic. It’s hard to do.

» Kate C :
Jan 17, 2011

Erica, you don’t know me, but I know Matt from college. I loved your video, as I have an identical one from Hanoi from a year ago. I love reading about where you guys are, because I was recently doing all of these things and you’re bringing back great memories! If you care to, read my blog about Hanoi traffic: http://katecunha.blogspot.com/2009/11/dare-i-say-it.html. I think it’s interesting how similarly we described it.

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
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