Traversing a street represents a simple procedure in most places. A light turns green and you cross. But Hanoi specializes in scooter madness and pedestrian frustration. The city possesses an overwhelming number of these two-wheeled machines. A lack of stoplights and people riding their vehicles the wrong way on one-way streets makes for hazardous walking. Many ignore the red lights. Crossing on foot involves taking one’s life in your hand.
I must get to the other side of the street. My eyes dart both ways on this one-way street. The motos conveniently spread themselves out just enough to prevent a safe crossing. Pedal rickshaws and cars add to the mix. I step out, only to back up quickly as a scooter driver driving the wrong way almost hits me.
Again, I look, and it seems fine. I put my foot out. A slow rickshaw slows in front of me, blocking my attempt. Exasperation envelops me. Will I ever get across this street?
“Hello, rickshaw?” The driver shouts out at me.
I desperately motion for him to leave as I see another chance. A taxi honks and slows, destroying my attempt to cross. I roll my eyes as the traffic becomes thicker. More cars make it much more challenging to navigate. Scooters will go around you, cars won’t.
At last, I step out and get halfway across. Everything seems good. But wait, another scooter appears out of nowhere. I stop, remembering not to step back, a great way to get hit when between fast-moving rows of traffic. My frustration grows.
I walk close to a passing scooter, finishing the crossing after it passes.