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I came, I saw, I survived…

Sophie Lelarge
Sophie Lelarge
Chief Revenue Officer

I would like to publish this article from Guy:… survived the frenzied, dantesque, terrifying traffic of Hanoi. The first confrontation is frightening; one is paralyzed when seeing this steady stream of motorcycles in front of you. Impenetrable, insurmountable, and certainly not linear and spread out: everyone changes lanes or direction about 200 times per kilometer and keeps preferably to the right, just before turning left and crossing the complete flow of traffic. Or vice versa.Sometimes at night on a one way street 30 m wide, fully occupied, you will find a bike with no lights going down the street the wrong way, nothing out of the ordinary; he just saved himself 500 m doing so. Signal lights are unknown.The favorite vehicle is the super bike of local production, perfectly suited to its environment. Two or three brands share the market, but THE MUST is actually the Honda Wave (97 cm3, 4 stroke, a great gearbox without a clutch).Wave or not, all these bikes are perfectly quiet (too bad we don’t have thesame in France!), they do not give off any exhaust fumes and are built to last forever. It must be said that motorbike pooling is widely practiced here, up to two adults and three children on the same bike. One can just as easily carry a 123 cm television not attached to the carrier or 50 live ducks. Scooters are also making inroads, especially amongst the girls.If there were only 2 wheels vehicles, everything could be understood. But there are also the cars, more and more of them. And not just small ones, particularly in the better neighborhoods! In principle, the Hanoi driver does not tolerate anyone in front of him, motorcycle or car. So he honks almost continuously to clear the passage. Totally spent after 10,000 kilometers, the horn must be changed every oil change, along with the oil filter.But you will mostly likely say to me, that such a way to drive is incompatible with what we know of the Vietnamese State, we would assume that they would make everyone go in the right direction and quietly! That is without knowing this proud people who advance whatever happens, all in the same direction, but each in his own way!Days pass. You take a taxi four times a day, and then you walk; you begin to dare to cross the stream of traffic, putting at risk your life. Perhaps you make a trip on the back seat of a motorcycle, putting in danger again… And then things become more and more understandable, the monster becomes less threatening, all these motorcyclists are applying the same rule, a totally opportunistic way of driving, each person takes immediate possession of whatever space is being liberated in front of him, left or right. This asynchronous behavior that optimizes time and road space is possible. And no sign of aggression in all of this, just an obsession to win some time, so important to these people who never stop…And I’m starting to dream. A dream of a less civilized western world, with fewer rules,fewer prohibitions and obligations. Fewer radars. A world where we could drive more spontaneously, take more advantage of the moment, more in tune with the traffic and the weather. But I know that those looking after us are watching, and will give nothing.Well my boy, maybe I’ll immigrate to Vietnam after all? But as long as they do not make me eat dog or cobra on the floor! Definitely not that!Guy LASNIER


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