Thursday, March 8, 2012

a glimpse of saigon's magic

I think it goes without saying that Ho Chi Minh City is crowded--and by crowded, I mean it is hard not to support the "you can only have 2 children" law that is allegedly in effect here. Ho Chi Minh City has 12 million people residing in it. To give you some perspective, New York has 8 million. Chicago has 2.5 million. Needless to say, this is highly reflected in the traffic situation. It is hard for me to describe in words how many motorbikes pass by my house every day. It is unfathomable. It literally feels like the street is going to burst open. Of course, the worst is at 5PM when the streets are pretty much immobile at some spots. You could walk at a faster pace (if there weren't so many motorbikes in the way). I once did a quick estimate at the intersection near in front of my house when I was waiting for the light to change. In a one row span across a one way street there were 25 motorbikes. I estimate it takes 30-40 rows of motorbikes in one single block. Therefore, at a standstill of just 45 seconds alone (typical length of a traffic light here) there were about 1,000 motorbikes in front of me within one block. Trời ới!

Every time I am riding around amongst the craziness, I would give anything to have my camera. One day, I am just going to have someone drive me around so I can document the madness. In the meantime, PLEASE watch the video below. It will provide you with a true image of what modern day Saigon is like (so no I am not living in a hut people) and what I am dealing with on a daily basis (many of the images are right near my house!). Brace yourself! (Also, sorry for the many videos lately--I know they are not as convenient as pics and I know I always curse the CNN iPad app when it gives me the video after clicking on the news highlight and no story--but this one is worth it, I promise!)

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