The Petryk's Round-The-World Adventure 2007/2008 travel blog

Today we returned to Bangkok's new International airport to catch our flight to Hanoi in Vietnam, a city of 4 million people, 2 million motorcycles and the Chuong Duong Bridge, the longest bridge in Asia at 5.5 kilometres, spanning the Song Hong(Red River). Traffic here is something to and vehicles don't really stop for anyone, they just weave around people and other vehicles, horns honking constantly and yet there don't appear to be many accidents. Hanoi has had numerous names over the centuries, but its present name was given to it by Emperor Tu Duc in 1831 and means "The City in a Bend of the River". There does not appear to be much visible damage remaining from the American War.....most of it having been repaired in the 35 years since the Americans left the country. We were driven to our hotel (The Galaxy) and after checking in we wandered over to a nearby market. The French influence is visible in the architecture everywhere.....Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1953. Later in the evening we braved the traffic once more looking to find a place to eat. A little ways down from the hotel we saw a restaurant across the street that looked inviting.... however, the steady stream of motorcycles in front of us was a little daunting.......we stood by the side of the road for what seemed like an eternity waiting for a break in the traffic that was not to come...we were about to head back towards our hotel and try crossing the street elsewhere when a young lad came across from the restaurant and then walked us back thru the weaving onslaught to the other side and into the restaurant.... it would appear that the trick is to not look at the oncoming vehicles but to keep your eye on where you are going......the traffic just weaves its way around you and keeps on going and you get safely to the other side. If you watch to see who's coming at you and stop, then they seem to swerve the other way and you just about get hit by either the motorcycle you stopped for or by someone else. We enjoyed a great Vietnamese meal and returned safely to our hotel to see what tomorrow would bring.....

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