Wednesday, September 21, 2016

An Apartment And An Accident

I am pretty sure I have found an apartment in Hanoi starting this weekend. It'll be about four million dong a month, or the equivalent of about $180 a month.  It is completely furnished, and has about all the pots and pans, dishes, and eating utensils I need. It has wi-fi and cable thrown in, and the water and electric are a little extra (the guy moving out says he pays about $15-$20 a month). The apartment is in the Tay Ho neighborhood, which sort of has a reputation as an expat enclave in Hanoi. But it also has many Vietnamese living there as well. The expats tend to get clustered together in the same buildings, because apparently there are some restrictions on where foreigners  can live, so landlords end up having buildings that are just for foreigners. It looks like a really cool neighborhood, it is right off the east side of West Lake.

Walking back from checking out the apartment, there was a motorbike accident right behind me. I was walking down the street, pretty much among all the other traffic, because the sidewalk was taken up by parked motorbikes and merchandise (as it usually is). And a woman on a motorbike right behind me careened into the back corner of a panel truck that was parked. I didn't see it, because it was behind me, but I definitely heard it, and turned around to see her motorcycle whizzing and spinning down the street, right next to me. Jeez, that could have taken me out from behind if it had just spun about seven degrees in my direction.

So I walked back there to see if she was OK, and some local people were helping her to her feet. She shook all her limbs, and it didn't seem like anything was broken, but she had some nasty abrasions, and the other people there helped her inside. I couldn't do much because of the language barrier, but I stayed around until she had gotten on her feet and gotten inside.

Usually vehicles like cars and trucks just park in the street, since there is no room for parking. So the truck was parked blocking the lane, and cars and bikes just went around it on the other side. You have to realize, though, that traffic lights, stop signs, lines on the road, and the directionality of traffic here are treated as merely advisory, and people go through intersections helter-skelter, from all directions, and the traffic (pedestrian, bike, motorbike and big vehicles) just flows around that constant chaos. When you are crossing a street, you move in this slow dance across the street...if you do it skillfully, you don't ever stop, and you keep in your consciousness where all the other vehicles are, and their trajectory. I imagine it is a lot like being an air traffic controller.  I have heard that often when there is a wreck, it is caused by one of the motorbikes that is riding on the wrong side of the street. So you have to keep your eyes out for anything going the wrong way, too.


  1. Wow, you could save up money for the rest of your trip by living there a while!

    1. Yeah, I'm hoping to save some money for a few months. But I'll have to renew my visa in a couple of months, and I hear the procedures are changing.