One of the first things you learn while wandering around Hanoi is that crossing the street is like playing a game of Frogger. Where you are the frog.
The traffic moves constantly, nobody is going to stop and at first it seemed like an impossible task to get to the other side. My friend and I watched others and the first few roads it took us a good 15 minutes to step out and cross. Once we followed a little old Vietnamese woman, who looked at us following as closely behind her as possible without clinging on to her and her smile said it all “newbies”. Probably not the first time it had happened to her.
The trick is to watch for an opening then step out, once you are in the traffic it’s not as bad as it seems. Suddenly you can see the spaces and as long as you move at a constant steady pace and don’t do anything unexpected you’ll be fine. You just have to trust in the process.
The traffic and people are amazing to watch. We finally made it over to a coffee shop with a balcony on the second floor over looking a busy street. A break from wandering around and before we knew it we had been over an hour just watching.
Cars, trucks, ox and carts, cyclists, scooters (lots and lots of scooters) all sharing the road. Pedestrians making their way across. It’s like a beautiful dance, the movement never stops. The movement of trucks around the Ox, the pedestrians weaving their way through the traffic, the other newbies like us standing and staring. The look on their faces saying “no way”. Yes way. Just throw caution to the wind, ignore everything you’ve been taught about looking both ways and waiting for cars to stop and step into the dance.
It never stops:
They make it look so easy:
Taking a break from the traffic: