Vibrant Vietnam - 2007

SAIGON Smooth transition from Hoi An to Saigon via Da Nang—no hitches. The sun was shining, at last, as we landed in the capital of the former Republic of South Vietnam. However, there was a different kind of “teeming”—not water, but motor scooters in their thousands, mixed of course with cars, buses, trucks, and even a few bicycles.

S TREET S CENES

The streets are exceptionally broad but not wide enough to accommodate all the traffic in Saigon. Phalanxes of scooters are rolling through every intersection; it looks like the Boston Marathon at the start of the race! It didn’t seem to matter what time of day or night you looked at the traffic either—always, always hordes of vehicles. Surprisingly quiet though— very little honking and no angry gesturing between drivers. Most of the motor scooters had at least two people on board, and many of them contained whole families, or enough groceries to feed a little village! Saigon is a huge city, 8 million people live here, and all of them must be on their scooters much of their lives! We had seen Saigon described in guidebooks as frenzied, tatty, and dilapidated. We did not visit in any such areas ourselves however. The city looked busy, industrious, and prosperous and filled with well-dressed shoppers with good taste since they had high-end shopping at

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