Jan 7, 2013
The first thing you notice when you get off the plane in Hanoi is that every communist soldier is on an iphone. The officer who was handling my visa never even looked up at me. He was too busy playing a video game on his computer, while he talked non-stop on his iphone at the same time. It was late on Christmas eve and our taxi driver beeped his horn about 400 times on our trip to the hotel, which took about an hour. He beeped at every truck, car and scooter he passed on the highway. I might add that it is not unusual to see someone on a little motor scooter driving down the HIGHWAY in the wrong direction and no one seems to care. He beeped at every bicycle rider, gas station attendant and roadside diner he spotted. I think it drove Yun nuts but I loved it. In the pursuing days, you realize that everyone does it all the time. The people are poor but every person does have a motor scooter. Their prized possession, I'm sure. Even if you're poor, you do have a horn. It's not like people use it in anger. It is more of a hello or a way to give people a notice that you are behind them or passing them by. With every person doing it nonstop all day and night long, it is quite a cacophony. I should also mention that everyone is talking on their cell phone as they are driving. So many people are doing it, that I thought it might be mandatory. It's very intense but I loved every minute.