It is the time of year Nguyen Hue street in downtown Ho Chi Minh City closes down and transforms into a flower decoration display. Time your arrival or get caught in the Tet pack. This year the guards allowed you to only walk in one direction to ensure a constant flow and not the typical everybody jostling for themselves as you observe rush hour time at various intersections and roundabouts.
For the pedestrians walking, the pace was quicker than the nearby traffic on Ton Duc Thang street as the before mentioned display of traffic violations increased with the amount of traffic. Going against the one way street in packs, the motorbikes managed to almost grind the traffic to a complete stop. Taking the correct route would be a bit longer in distance, however, the time would be the same, if not faster.
Strolling along in the city and enjoying the outdoor cafe spaces was a pure bliss. Cafe Kita expanded and had a brisk business as well as the impromptu refreshment sellers. The city felt different just by being able to walk without worrying of motorbikes whizzing by trying to snatch your camera or hand bag. More walkable streets would be welcomed indeed. Let’s see what the year can bring – Happy Lunar New Year! Chuc Mung Nam Moi!