DON’T look both ways before crossing the street!

Instead, close your eyes and just walk when crossing the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam.

Yes, my friends warned me many times that the traffic in Vietnam is terrible and no one stops for pedestrians.  I was told (and I read) to just slowing start walking across the street (DO NOT RUN) and everything will be alright.  Yet On my first day in Vietnam when I got out of the cab at a major intersection in Hanoi, I completely froze and was terrified to cross the street to get to my hotel. I had to stop my cab driver and ask him to help me cross the street.  He of course laughed as I held on tight to his arm. I think I didn’t breath for all 7 seconds that it took me to cross the road.   Ah…. Sigh of relief when I got to the other end…

Later, I became very comfortable with this… as long as you just walk slowly and look straight ahead (not both ways)… even close your eyes, you can cross the streets of Vietnam with no harm. I still managed to no breath during the process.

There are so many motorcycles in Vietnam especially in the major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Ming City (aka Saigon). I think of them as a school of fish. Have you ever been scuba diving or snorkeling and see a school of fish in perfect formation? …and when you try to swim through it or when it comes at you, the fish just spread all around you without touching you and once the fish pass you, the school goes back into its formation? The very same thing happens with the traffic in Hanoi. It’s quite amazing once you get used to it.

I traveled the first leg of my journey through Vietnam with Irit, a friend who was introduced to me via email by Anna who is my friend from Singapore and was my travel companion in Agra, India.

I was so excited to be in Vietnam, I have dreamt for years of coming here to explore the country and I could not believe that I was ACTUALLY here!

Irit and I spent a day in Hanoi and walked around Hoan Kiem Lake.  We later decided to be adventurous and sat in one of the many plastic chairs in Hanoi to be served the below delicious meal (about $1).

There are many little plastic chairs and tables in Vietnam where the establishment only serves one dish.  If you seat in one then you will be immediately served whatever dish the establishment specializes in whether it is pho or some other type of meat and noodle.

I kid you not… this place offers photocopies and pho all at the same time!  My friends back in DC would definitely get a kick out of this.

Overall this was a great start to my trip through Vietnam!

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2 Responses to “DON’T look both ways before crossing the street!”

  1. OH that looks amazing, I have travelled around Nepal and India and remember eating so cheaply. Incredible. I love how they have used lots of fresh herbs and ingredients here.

    • Thanks for your comment! Yes, it is so great to eat there. I even took a full day cooking class in Hoi An which I will blog about soon. Stay tuned!

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