After our slowdown in Hoi An, we were a little taken aback when we arrived in Hanoi. Hanoi was like the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City taken to the next level. I would say turned up to 11, but Shelley and I have been to India since and know better. More on that to come…
The most memorable thing about Hanoi for us, I think, was crossing the street. Sounds crazy, but in a city of more than 6.5 million people and seemingly just as many motorbikes that never stop moving due to the lack of traffic signals, crossing streets can be daunting to say the least. Our travels up to this point prepared us well for just diving into the traffic and miraculously emerging on the other side of the street unscathed. Also, when we were in Ho Chi Minh City experiencing similar traffic and street crossings, we were helped by an elderly Vietnamese woman, who, with grandmotherly guidance, practically grabbed us by the hand and showed us the ropes. She must have been in her 70s and was just super sweet, calming our obvious deer-in-the-headlights street corner paralysis. Still, it felt like a little miracle each time we made it across.
It’s hard to describe in words, so I took a video of us crossing the street one night while we were in Hanoi. This was fairly light traffic, since it was later at night, but it still gives you a good idea of the constant flow of traffic and what crossing the street is like. You just have to charge into the street, walk confidently, don’t stop, and somehow you’ll make it across.
Be sure to look for the scooter that darts in front of us right before we get to the other side of the street–the one going the wrong way on a one way street!