Monday, October 29, 2007

Gooood Morning Vietnam!

Okay. I have to admit. I have been in Disneyland until now. It is another world here. And it started as soon as I stepped out of the airport. Cindy had arranged for the hotel driver to pick me up. And just like Anne the driver had no trouble recognizing me. I was white and my blue eyes were as big as saucers. I was looking at the traffic. I got into the car and we merged, and not a Japanese merge, into something I have never seen before. Trucks, cars, cows, bicycles, rickshaws and motorbikes all on the expressway. Yes expressway. The motorbikes and bicycles were loaded with everything imaginable and lots of it. One motorbike had chickens,lots of chickens. Chickens on the back in cages, chickens on the sides in bags and chickens hanging upside down on the handlebars ( their feet tied to make the loop). Motorbikes had construction materials on them; bricks, steel re-bar in ten foot lengths,marble slabs, or lumber enough to build a shed. Some motorbikes had three people, groceries and tonights not yet dead dinner. Cows were mostly on the sides of the road though not always. The drivers use their horns as turn signals. If any of them want to go around another car they honk until either the car moves over or, they themselves get past. They honk when they are turning a corner, or going through an intersection. Oh yeah intersections; no lights, no signs, no signals, no hesitation by any drivers, riders or cows. Yes that means that everyone is going all directions at one time. Left turns, right turns, u- turns and of course forward. It's kind of like stirring soup. At one point during the drive my driver could not pass on the right because there was to much traffic so he went into the on coming traffic lane (full of on coming traffic) beeped his horn the whole way, passed,and moved back into our lane. My eyes got bigger as I was dropped off at the hotel. The sidewalks were covered, absolutley covered with parked motorbikes, marble carvers, squatting construction workers, vendors, and sidewalk restauraunts, but no people, there wasn't any room. People walked in the streets with the "chaos", and that's exactly what I did next. I had almost a full day before Cindy arrived in Hanoi so I hit the streets trying to act like I knew what I was doing. Then I came to an intersection. I had to enter that intersection chaos. I was brave, undaunted, and I blended right in. I picked a little old lady to follow and when she stepped into the mess, so did I. Just when I thought my eyes could not be more telling, I walked into an open market. OH MY GAWD. Live things soon to be dead, dead things soon to be cut up, and dead things being cut up, their guts in the street. Tongues,livers,kidneys,hearts,legs and ears. Bowls of squirming maggots ready to be roasted, or squirming eels soon to be dinner. A whole roasted pig, no....Fido. I headed back to my room.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yep, now you're there! No haiku for Hanoi! Just don't get run over by cows or cars passing cows or cows passing cars or well, you get the idea.

Also no PDA! It'll get you killed there. You're not in Kansas anymore girlfriend.

Laurie

LJ said...

You go girl. Just look straight ahead and cross the road like you are on a mission. Don't hesitate - it throws them off. :)

cindy & cheryl said...

What chaos! I'm not sure I can really imagine it. And you're supposed to bike along the coast?!? I hope the road is... what? More quiet? Less crowded? How about just more SAFE!! The market sounds mind-boggling - I think all that carnage would put me right over the edge. I'm glad you found a place where you could get online. Keep us posted! I hope you and Cindy enjoy your time together - be safe!!!

Judy said...

"Tongues,livers,kidneys,hearts,legs and ears. Bowls of squirming maggots ready to be roasted, or squirming eels soon to be dinner."
Must make you appreciate 'home sweet home' even more. :-)

kelly said...

roasted maggots. chit...I have been looking all over for roasted maggots. Bring some home for me please

Anonymous said...

Hey Tracy and Ceeb - just checking in to see how 'Nam's treating you! I'll look in later to see if you made it into the bay okay...
Cheers,
Hugh

Sandy said...

Tracey!
It's a good thing I didn't meet you in Vietnam...the farm is starting to feel like heaven and CLEAN!
I'm not sure how much more I can handle...but keep it coming :).
Enjoy your visit with Cindy (hi Cindy).
Sandy

Anonymous said...

Tracy! Thanks for all the wonderful posts! I so enjoy reading these from my ho-hum office life :-)
Can't wait to read the next installment!
Melissa

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy,
Vietnam traffic sounds a little like Italy except for the cows! The live soon to be dead & guts is enough for me to vow never to go to Vietnam! It sounds like a suit of armor & a cast iron stomache might come in handy! Hope you & Cindy have a great time & can get away from the cities! Take care!
Love, Mom