Ho Chi Minh is not the capital of Vietnam, but the economic artery of the country. It was an eye opener to me when I visit Vietnam, there are definitely a lot of madness, chaos, and craziness with the city, which I believe are evidence and signs that it is continually developing. I actually had a lot of difficulties crossing the streets because first of all, there are hardly any traffic lights, and at the tourist areas where there are traffic lights, motorcycles really don’t give a crap. Second, there are so many motorcycles on the road, it makes one’s head spin! If you want to cross the street, you basically need to pretend the hundreds of motobikes coming at you don’t exist, or else you would literally be standing and waiting for something that will never happen–> all the motorbikes to pass. Anyway, by the third day of the trip, I pretty much can cross any streets without my legs shaking, pumping heartbeats, and bewilderment in my eyes at what I am about to do. In fact, when returning to Singapore, the way I decided to cross the streets bewilder other rule abiding Singaporeans.
While I feel very blessed to have grown up in developed Canada and lived in modern cities of Hong Kong and Singapore, the travelling I am doing continually open my eyes to so many amazing and crazy things that go on in the world. In Vietnam, a family of four could all be seated on a motorbike while the mother carry a baby on her lap. In the West, we freak out over car seats and baby proofing everything; but the babies in Vietnam grown up just fine without ever hearing about car seats or strollers. In fact, if you have a stroller, that might be a dangerous hazard itself, I don’t know how you can possibly cross the streets.
Below, I share some pictures I took of this chaotic city that has taught me to cross the streets anywhere in the world. Believe me when I say if you can cross the streets in Ho Chi Minh, you can cross the streets anywhere else in the world.
i realize my whole entry is pretty much about motorbikes, so I must show you what I am talking about
this is near Chinatown, close to the hotel we were staying at and close to where we sat at some plastic table with stools with a local friend sipping strong coffee with sweet milk
the saigon river is a strip of restaurants on boats and they will take you down the saigon river for a 45 min ride. It's very touristy, though the strip look nice on the outside, there really isn't much of a view to speak off across the saigon river and the food (western) isn't cool, I love local food way more!
the oldest pagoda in ho chi minh
the war remnants museum is really worth a visit to see what kind of war and pain the country has suffered
cool huh? a giant plate of donuts on top of the man's head