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Street Racing 15 April 2011

Posted by uggclogs in Life, only in Vietnam, Safety, Travelling, Vietnam.
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Last night was one of the scariest moments I have had in the capital of Vietnam. After a lovely dinner, and an even lovelier chat with one of the expats we’ve shared our journey with over the past three years, I was driving home around eleven thirty.

The weather was fantastic; fresh, inviting, spring was finally and definitely in the air.

The streets were mostly empty except for the street cleaning trucks that spray water on the roads and the drag racers.

The racers in Hanoi tend to all be the same, and I’ve seen some before, even had near accidents with them. They are young men, often shirtless, helmetless, sometimes tattooed, but always without a care in the world. When it is organised racing, pretty young women are often involved, too, perched as trophies on the back of the bikes.

But these were not the organised type – there was not a suped up vehicle between them. In fact, I believe I spotted a red Honda cub amongst the bikes.

But it was still scary. As I came down Thanh Nien, and hit the big round about at the southern end, the lead bike flew by. Screaming, shouting, leaning on their horns, the others were not far behind.

I was driving quite fast myself, but had slowed down due to the wet roads. They, however, did not.

And some of them would turn and make cat calls at me, acting quite threateningly. There were about 15-20 bikes that flew past on the wet road, overtaking me on the left and the right, hooting, laughing, swerving. There was not a safe manouvre between them, and no helmets.

Finally, as we were about all the way through the round about, they kept going around, as I turned right towards the mausoleum.

My sighs of relief were only short lived, as I encountered the water truck, a fork lift, and more racers in quick succession. There were even two cars racing on the streets. I was happy to be home not long after.