Most people, when asked, would answer that the traffic mayhem that you experience on a daily basis leaves an impression, for better or worse. In the central business district, foreign pedestrians can be observed breaking out in panic and sprinting in hordes across the zebra crossings. Not for the faint hearted indeed.
There are a few simple rules to obey and you will live to cross the street and tell the tale.
First of all, do not panic and run. Make sure the oncoming riders are seeing you before moving forwards and when moving, move slowly and steadily and soon you will be on the other side in one piece.
I have got the height to be easily spotted, but for others, especially children, waving hands or umbrellas help too. I have seen blind beggars cross the street slowly by blowing a whistle every few seconds by themselves.
To sum up:
- Make sure you are noticed.
- Progress slowly.
- Keep eyes on traffic at all times.
- Move steadily and in a predictable route.
The motorbike riders will see you and avoid you. Sudden movements increases the chances of an accident.
I went to one of Saigon’s bus stations and found a street side cafe, front row view to the mayhem as the buses arrived faster than the planes at Heathrow airport. Ordered a “ca phe sua da”, my favourite coffee, I find second to none when you get the right blend.
Back to the chaos. Patience and timing. Motorbikes are passing by and you will sometimes only get one shot at it before the moment has gone. Below is the result of a morning spent at front row view, bus station.