Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Getting Around

By Eric

As I said last time, we're seriously considering getting motorbike. When they talked about bikes and motorbikes at training, I didn't think I'd be too interested in getting one. Last time I was overseas, I walked or took a city bus just about everywhere I needed to go. Occasionally if I was in a hurry or if I didn't know the bus number I needed, I'd take a cab.

We found out pretty quickly that the same plan isn't going to work in Da Nang. First off, there are hardly any city buses. We've seen very few city buses and even fewer bus stops. I'm not sure if that's because the city is 'small' or if it's just a cultural difference. Whatever the reason, using buses to get around isn't going to work.

The option of walking isn't going to work well for us either. Why? It's ridiculously hot. Every day from about 9 am to 6 pm, it's a 90-90 day. 90 degrees or warmer with 90% humidity. We still tough it out and walk most places. But if it's more than 30 minutes away, it's better to call a cab. You can walk it, but then the next several hours are lost as you spend time recovering from the long, HOT walk. The Vietnamese people look at us like we're crazy when we're out walking around during the day. Some days, I wonder if they're right...

So yeah, we're starting to ask around and see what we can find out about the bicycle or used motorbike market.

There are a few things that concern me about putting some wheels underneath me. First off: traffic! It's kinda crazy. How crazy? Well, during the day, I hum the theme song of Frogger while crossing the street. And if I need to cross at night, I often find myself singing a little song from this Jerry Sienfeld routine.

I will say it's amazing what you can get used to within just a few weeks. Here's a video of Karissa showing you how it's done.

And some more footage of the organized chaos.

So yes, if we get a motorbike, we will take lessons and wear helmets!


  1. are you kidding me? that is ludicrous. I was expecting a "joke" youtube video, but that was real...I'll be "thinking" hardily for your safety no matter what your mode of transportation is!!

  2. Oh my gosh Nicky and I just watched your "organized chaos" video and even after our length of time here we were still amazed at the footage. Great video! I still cannot believe that is what we deal with every day. And the funny thing is...your video is not even at the heaviest time of the day! I will be lifting you guys up if you decide to get a motorbike because having a bike this has been a whole new experience for me this year.

  3. Eric, you make something that has to be rather terrifying absolutely hilarious. Hokey pete. The Seinfeld link is classic, and now you're going to have me singing this to myself when I cross Highway 75. Oh, and you guys will appreciate, the Sioux Center cops are now "cracking down" on people who don't stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. It's a $195 ticket.

  4. oh man! the traffic in vietnam! we spent our first day in Ho Chi Mihn - it took us 15 min just to dare to try to cross...but really, all you have to do is start walking and the drivers will simply avoid you. driving, though, is probably a whole different matter all together!

  5. Looks like ants on an anthill!!!

  6. Making me laugh! Frogger and the Jerry Seinfeld bit is hilarious. "Living is good, dying is not so good...." That truly is frogger-esque though. wow.