Crossing the Road is Real-Life Frogger!
December 19, 2014
I don't know about you, but as a child I always wished that video games could be real life. I could see myself on missions storming military bases in 007 GoldenEye (as Oddjob of course). Whenever we went go-karting as children I would pretend it was Mario Kart and throw bananas in front of my siblings' cars. I dreamed of one day wearing tight shorts, being objectified, and desecrating tombs with giant handguns like Lara Kroft. (Incidentally, one of those three is unavoidable for women today). But the game I wanted to live out in real life most, of course, was Frogger.
People pay a lot of good money to jump out of planes when there's adrenaline inciting moments just outside your front door. All you need to do is find the nearest busy street and you have endless entertainment and excitement. **Warning:** You only have one life outside of computers.
What I really like about Vietnam is that they've made these kinds of fun activities a part of the fabric of their culture, weaving them into people's daily routines so they can be enjoyed by all. Traffic here is chaotic with only a few loosely enforced rules.
Rule 1: Defer to larger vehicles.
Rule 2: Don't get hit.
Rule 3: Don't fall over. (This one is mostly for tourists from countries where people apparently don't learn to bike as children.)
I DON'T WANT TO DIE!
We've been taking Vietnamese lessons and we were given a booklet with a set of introductory phrases. The section of instructions for driving and navigation includes the phrase 'I don't want to die.' Tôi không muốn chết.' Naturally, this was a little worrisome for John and me.
Worst Cities for Pedestrians
Oh look, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are two of the worst cities in the world for pedestrians, and both are right here in Vietnam. As chaotic as things seem in the small town of Hội An, we'll have to be even more careful when we visit the larger cities. We had read that the big cities were bad for traffic and pedestrians, which is one of the main reasons we picked a smaller town to work from while we're in Vietnam.
In case you're wondering about the surgical masks people are wearing on motorbikes, they wear them to prevent themselves from breathing in bugs, exhaust fumes, and rain. I wondered when I first arrived why everyone wore them, but as soon as I got on a bicycle I realized immediately why you would want one.
Trying to Cross the Street
For your viewing pleasure, here is a series of photos of me trying to cross the street.
How about now?
I finally crossed the street before the next stampede of motorbikes came through.