Hanoi: Mopeds

We are currently in Hanoi, Vietnam and I am trying to be more on top of my game in posting as we are doing things rather than letting everything backlog for when we get back home and have to teach at the same time. Also apparently there is no Facebook access in Hanoi so in hopes that this can serve as my status since it is linked into my facebook account I am posting.
We got here yesterday and spent yesterday afternoon and today wondering around the city exploring the sites and taking in the city as best we could. We have had to be very aware of our surroundings as people whip around on their mopeds. Crossing the street feels like a real life frogger experience as nobody slows down to let you cross the street rather they are constantly shooting for the gap of space between mopeds, pedestrians and cars. Being new to the city we at first tried to wait our turn, quickly realizing this wasn’t working we began to cross when locals crossed, then we began the process of starting, stopping, speeding up. All of this seemed not to work except to scare the crap out of us, then I made the observation that you need to forget everything you learned about crossing the street growing up and merely walk out into the street without looking and keep walking at a consistent speed. People will then adapt and shoot for the gaps around you. This works for crossing any street or intersection for that matter you can walk diagonally across a roundabout/8 way intersection and be fine. In addition to an army of mopeds people will put everything on the back of a moped. While in Latin America we had seen whole families on mopeds but here in Vietnam they take it to a new level. People will put multiple family members, mirrors, huge sacks of things, 10 water jugs (the big ones) and anything else that can be thought of. It made me think of being in college and thinking it was crazy when Andy Miller and I rode a moped together along with a comforter or a suitcase. Little did we realize we could have fit at least 10 chickens as well. I will upload the video of the streets later as pictures can’t do it justice but until then here are a few pictures.
Parking for mopeds can be done just about anywhere.

In the old quarter there is a ton of shopping that can be done. Much of it from a moped. It felt like a a drive through mall.

It definitely makes for some interesting people watching, just not while walking. We head to Halong Bay tomorrow so we wont be able to post for a few days as we escape the mopeds.

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