First day in Vietnam, we have arrived in Ho Chi Minh. Walking around the city is chaotic and exciting. Motorbikes everywhere, a game of frogger to cross the street.
I’ve heard the traffic in Vietnam compared to a symphony but it is definitely the Jazz of the musical world- conflicting rhythms, syncopation and lots of improv.
At first, it seems impossible- death seems imminent. By the end of one day, we feel we have cracked the code. You must commit to a gap and walk slow so that the traffic can predict and flow around you.
The street concrete is busted, littered with tripping hazards. The locals seem not to notice, even in their high heels. There is not a wheelchair accessible corner in sight and some curbs are so high, they pose quite the challenge to children.
But all of it is so refreshing. You have one responsibility and that is to look out for yourself. You walk and act knowing that no one owes you anything more than a little courtesy such as the smallest opening to nudge your way into. By the end of the day you are slightly convinced this system is safer. You personal safety is a badge worn on your shirt rather than held at the national bank to a nanny state.
If something happens to you, you have only yourself to blame for making the decision to step outside. But, the reward is bountiful. Amazing food and smiles galore. The random local to show you the ropes or yell and wave at the bikes as she escorts you across the street.
Most importantly, you laugh. There is nothing more spectacular than two people who do not speak the same language but have found some way to make the other one laugh.