Mar 28, 2006
Misunderstanding the horn
Staying calm on the roads of Saigon is the path to enlightenment, my children. It’s a maze of motorbikes. It’s hot, dirty and dangerous. However, going slightly slower than 'The Bluebird' seems to help cut out the most stressful situations. Here are the top most annoying traffic situations:
1) The Bus Sandwich
You can guess.
2) The Air Horn Heart Attack
Your half way home and you think you’ve finally managed to find your inner calm, gliding to a brief halt at a red light, a smile even begins to spread across your face as you begin daydreaming about your dinner. Not for long – behind you the driver of a 10 ten juggernaut gives you an aneurism with his piston powered claxon that uses 5 liters of petrol and cracks the chassis of your Honda. You flinch uncontrollably but eventually recover, about the same time, he gives you another blast.
3) The 10mph Daydream
Even cruising at a regular speed can still give your brakes the occasional bruising as you are forced to scream to a halt behind slow moving traffic: grandma. She is transporting 15 kilograms of spring onions on her modified lawnmower, top speed about 8.5 kph. Her proud demeanor and stubborn posture don’t do your already impatient temper any good. You circle around the back wheel like an irate F1 driver caught behind a back marker, and at the first opportunity, speed past.
4) The Unexpected Bicycle Wobble
Anyone who rides a bicycle here can at least take comfort in the fact that they could easily move onto a career in the circus, such is the art of riding one locally produced. Of course they are more difficult to maneuver with 5 high school girls on them, and the ‘unexpected wobble’ can strike at any time. Simply a brief loss of control where the elbows buckle and the bike lurches wildly to the left/right and dangerously close to being flattened by your motorbike.
5) The Red Light Lottery
Red, Green, who cares!!
6) The Workmans Lance (see Comedy Cargos Usually for Building Sites and also Jousting)
7) The Vanishing Act (usually achieved best in huge clouds of black smoke).
8) Impossible Left Turn
Rocket Science tis' not. When I need to turn left I generally stick to the left side of the road, and similarly hog the right kerb at right turns. Others don't agree. Red turns to green but your progress is soon halted by a few motorists, determined to make their lives difficult by performing the impossible turn. The indicator is blinking, but there's nobody home. Slowly inching forward at a 20 degree angle across the path of oncoming motorbikes, taxis, buses and cyclists - if only one of those 'caught on camera' shows back home could get hold of this footage! People would be falling out of their armchairs and choking on their steaks! I should add a disclamer here - we've all got caught in this situation, it is unavoidable sometimes. Other times however, you just have to puff up your chest self righteously and mutter 'honestly'.
Thats all, until I drive home today, become enraged (breath) and remember another 15.
Posted by Jon Hoff at 15:04