Wednesday, June 10, 2015

When In Danang: Part Ten

When in Danang, dare to drive a motorbike. 

Now the traffic here in cute little Danang is not so heart-stopping as the huge cities of Saigon or Hanoi, but in order to survive, you need to wrap your head around these Vietnamese rules of the road:

1. Throw the Western rules of driving right out the window.. Oh sure, traffic lights, lane lines, turn signals and other such conventions exist in some fashion, but you can't count on other drivers to respect or necessarily use them. And if you insist on sticking to the old rules yourself, silly American, you are going to cause a lot of drama and confusion on the streets of Vietnam.

2. Understand that Vietnamese drivers operate like a school of fish. Flowing along in close quarters, they speed up when they see openings and slow down as congestion builds. When one stream of traffic intersects with another, each driver enters into a silent dance with the others, nonverbally negotiating who will gently accelerate and who will ease off, in order to safely pass each other by.

3. Use that horn for all you're worth. Horns are an important part of the driving experience. Unlike American drivers, who typically honk to signal impatience or straight-up annoyance, the Vietnamese honk is a friendly little thing. "Do you see me? I'm here! Don't kill me!" Thus, the streets are filled with the sound of merry music, and listening is an important part of the Vietnamese driver's repertoire. 

4. Relax and have fun. Now granted, your idea of fun may not include riding elbow to elbow with Asians packed onto their bikes with three children, a two-meter-wide load of bamboo, six cages full of live ducks, or a full-size refrigerator. But once you accept the fact that Asians have no concept of personal space, and witness enough low-speed collisions to realize that the worst that usually comes from them is a blown-out flip flop, the whole ordeal takes on a rosy glow. 

Trust me. It's fun.

When in Danang, dare to drive a motorbike.

* * * * *

Here are my other top ten tips for getting to know the sweet little city of Danang, Vietnam:

                    One | Ride across the bridges
                    Two | Hang out in coffee shops
                    Three | Play at the beach
                    Four | Stroll along the river after dark
                    Five | Fuel your creativity
                    Six | Go see the sunrise
                    Seven | Spend an afternoon wandering in Hoian
                    Eight | Play with babies
                    Nine | Get your nails done

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