Hanoi First Impressions – Traffic

School’s Out – Hanoi, Vietnam
Tribes of Vietnam Within The Frame Photographic Adventures September 2019

There is no mincing words, Hanoi is one noisy-hectic city. Crowded with people and motorbikes. More accurately, people on motorbikes, incessantly honking their horns. Not, as my guide informed me, in anger, but as a warning: “Here I am, I’m going this way, you should watch out for me.” It is their version of a turn signal, if there were any traffic rules about turn signals. The traffic in Vietnam, as experienced in both the big city of Hanoi and on the local roads in the isolated hills in the north, seems to be ruled only by the drivers confidence that they can successfully steer their way through the maze of other motorbikes, trucks, busses, and pedestrians without neither being hit nor do the hitting. The rule for pedestrians is to look the drivers in the eye and walk at a constant pace. They will judge your motions and steer away from hitting you. Both parties must be confident and must adhere to these rules or there may be dire consequences. The loudest drivers are the middle-aged women in their fashionable shoes on their vespa-like scooters. Their constant “beep, beep, beep, beep” say: “Out of my way, I am the matriarch here!”.

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