Navigating Vietnam

Do you know how to drive in Vietnam?  After careful observation and consideration, I believe there are three basic rules, which I’ve outlined below:

  • Honk your horn!
  • Never stop moving forward!  Except sometimes at a red light, if everyone else seems to be stopping.  If.
  • Don’t hit anyone!  Plus, in all seriousness, just honk your horn again.

I suppose that’s more like 3.5 rules, with the extra horn honking in there, but who’s counting anyways?

During our time in Vietnam, we’ve enjoyed a homestay in Hoi An with a family who wouldn’t stop making sure we were having the best time of our lives, a cool backpackers’ hangout close to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park where we were dazzled by beautiful caves recently discovered and opened to the public over the last few years, and a nice hotel in lively Hanoi.  Throw in a nice 3 day side trip to Bai To Long Bay (Ha Long Bay’s calmer neighbor) that included a boat cruise to another homestay on an island, and you get the gist of what happens when the Year of Fun says they’re heading to Vietnam.

Here are some photos taken during our time here for you visual learners out there.  (I can now say that I’ve differentiated the delivery of the content of this blog, practicing an essential teaching skill for the modern educator, thus providing evidence to the school district which so generously gave me a year’s leave that I am indeed reflecting upon my normal day job).  Which picture do find the most interesting/fascinating/memorable?  (Now turn to your table partner and explain, all you interpersonal learners you….)

Our two protagonists are enjoying the Hoi An Legenday Night festival, when the old town turns off all electric lights during the full moon and the streets are lit by candle lanterns as far as you an see.

Our two protagonists are enjoying the Hoi An Legenday Night festival, when the old town turns off all electric lights during the full moon and the streets are lit by candle lanterns as far as you can see.

During the Legendary Night festival, many locals as well as tourists send out these floating candle lanterns along the river through town.  Beautiful!

During the Legendary Night festival, many locals as well as tourists send out these floating candle lanterns along the river through town. Beautiful!

Here you see the afore-mentioned lanterns just itching to be purchased by any tourist shortsighted enough to not wonder how in the world they will get it home in good condition.  Again, pure beauty!

Here you see the afore-mentioned lanterns just itching to be purchased by any tourist shortsighted enough to not wonder how in the world they will get it home in good condition. Again, pure beauty!

Paradise Cave in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park.  Possibly the best surprise Vietnam has to offer to the random science teacher taking a year off who decided to check out Vietnam.

Paradise Cave in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park. Possibly the best surprise Vietnam has to offer to the random science teacher taking a year off who decided to check out Vietnam.

And finally…

These were the two books I picked to read from the little library offered on the boat cruise through Bai To Long Bay.  Classics.

These were the two books I picked to read from the little library offered on the boat cruise through Bai To Long Bay. Classics.

Thanks, Vietnam.  Next up: Singapore.  Where none of the official Vietnamese driving rules mentioned above apply.

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4 Responses to Navigating Vietnam

  1. Rebecca White says:

    I love that all electric lights are extinguished in favor of candlelight on full moon nights! So romantic, and equally importantly, earth friendly. Looks like a wonderful time!

    I’m dubious about your choice to lump Pitt and Hemingway in the same category….but I’m willing to be open minded about it.

  2. Kay Frey says:

    The driving sounds identical to the method needed to drive in the Dominican Republic. The one thing you didn’t mention was the need for a dose of faith in the driver, who always seems calm and collected in spite of the sque-e-e-e-eze.

    • Hi Kay,

      I believe it! I’ve heard from some friends who’ve been to the DR about that. We’ve noticed that a little faith in the drivers when we’re just walking down the side of the street helps too.

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