Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I am so impressed by the Vietnamese people. They are gentle, courteous, fun loving and patient. At least the people I have met.
According to wikipedia,
With a population of over ~87 million, Vietnam is the 13th most populous country in the world. The country is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies; according to government figures, GDP growth was 8.17% in 2006, the second fastest growth rate among countries in East Asia and the fastest in Southeast Asia.
Ho Chi Minh City (formerly called Saigon) has a population of about 8 million.
I consider myself a pretty good driver, but I am SO glad that I have not had to drive in this city.
The term I came up with to describe the traffic is CHAOS BALLET.
I seriously don't know how people negotiate the traffic.
The city has many round-a-bouts. 4,5 or 6 streets may funnel to this one round a bout and thousands of bicycles, motorbikes, buses and cars converge, do a pirouette and exit on the other side!
Here is what wikipedia says about the traffic.
Recently, the number of motorcycles has increased to about 3 million. There are also over 500,000 automobiles, packing the city's arterial roads and making traffic congestion and air pollution common problems. If Beijing is "the City of Bicycles", then Ho Chi Minh City may be called "the City of Motorbikes". Visitors shouldn't consider the city's streets as dangerous due to the motorists' general behaviour of dodging pedestrians. In general most people follow traffic rules and enforcement of traffic law is improving. However, drivers can still be seen driving the wrong way up a one way street or ignoring red lights.
I have observed all of those things in that description!
Several times I have seen 4 on a motor bike and the driver talking on the cell phone!
What these people load onto their bikes and these three-wheeled "trucks" is mind boggling.