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Crossing the street in Hanoi

10:42 | 11/03/2012

Good morning vacationers!

Hanoi, as we all know, is the capital of Vietnam and the country’s second largest city. It’s a “jewel box” full of lovely places where you can breathe the real Vietnam of yesterday, of today and of tomorrow…but it’s also a largely crowded city where an unbelievable number of motorcycles swarming the streets…could also be seen typing an SMS message or talking on their mobile phones while driving…but...”come ‘on, don’t be so western minded!” 

Well today I want to say a few words about crossing a street in Hanoi…

Clearly, compared with many other cities, the situation is not so bad …I mean if you think about India… (in Hanoi there are not cows in the streets!) 

In any case, if you are planning to come to Hanoi, I suggest you bear in mind some things, very simple, but extremely important.

Knowing mathematical rules…

I remember that when I studied mathematics, they explained to me that: “In a right triangle the diagonal is shorter than the sum of the sides”...well in Hanoi’s streets you could find a daily demonstration of this theorem…

When you see a motorcycle stopping at the red traffic light of the crossroad that is likely to turn left…never think that he will go straight on for some meters before doing so.

Usually, he would allow the other motorcycles, in front of him, to cross the street. The odd is that the motorcycle immediately turns left, trying to be the first hiting the road.

Another “geometric issue” ,that appears to be a corollary of the above said incident is the "one way" sign…be aware! It doesn’t mean vehicles will arrive only from one direction!

Be careful with your first step down from the curb! There are always some people on the right trying to turn left. I don’t think there’s any race at the moment. The simple reason is they don’t care about traffic laws.

Horn please!

Honking is necessary. OK. But what if people continue blowing their horn? Is this a polite way of warning?

Watching out the traffic light:

Usually the presence of the traffic light makes us feel safe when crossing the street. What I mean is that when the traffic light is green you know you are in the right direction. You feel like hearing a little voice from somewhere around you.

“It’s your moment, go ahead. Traffic light is green. No one can stop you!”

Well I strongly Hanoi don’t listen to this voice! Not all cars and motorcycles stop at the red traffic light! Hanoi's streets are like a river with its continuous flow. Please think twice before taking any risk!


“Find the right rhythm is the secret!”

When you are crossing the street you have to watch out at 360 degrees (is not a misprint, yesterday a motorcycle surprised me from behind my shoulders that I thought safe on the sidewalk side)...find a polite eye contact with the drivers and feel each single step before do it…and never, never run!

Your destiny is not totally already written…as in Asia you can change your future making the right offers headed on the right direction, if you find the right pace somehow you will discover that the trajectories of the motorcycles will divert around you as per magic, you are now become part of the flow… :-)

In other words, to be more prosaic and stealing some words from a Sting’s song:

“Confront your enemies, avoid them when you can, a gentleman will walk but never run…”

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