Thursday, July 15, 2010

Just trying to get to the market in the Thuan An district - 07/11/10

Our first adventure out into the area proved to be interesting of course! First on the list... get some dong! I had been anticipating the the moment I was going to enter 1,000,000 into an ATM machine! A million dong is about $50.

Next on the list, check out the marketplace. But first we have to get there without getting run over by a motorbike. There are about a million of those too. And it seems that the first rule of the road is that there are no rules. I met a young Vietnamese woman yesterday (I think she works here at the school) who just took her test to receive her driver's license. She passed the test and was thrilled! I wasn't surprised to find out there are actually rules, but nobody follows them. I hope she didn't think it was rude when I asked if there are actually rules. I was kinda serious.

My perception of the situation: don't hit me and I won't hit you. If I cross the middle line, you will move out of my way just enough so that we can both safely pass.... and I could probably kiss your cheek if I wanted to as well. Obviously it works well and I can see how it is kind of intuitive now that I've been riding in vans and taxis for a few days now. My startle reflex and flinching has decreased significantly.

Anyway, back to getting to the market.... my point is that we had to cross the street several times from the ATM to the market. No stop signs, no lights, nothing. Just start going... slow and steady so the drivers can predict where you are going and go around you. The same rule applies, don't hit me and I won't hit you. The hardest part is getting out into the street, the rest is fine, just keep going I guess. I don't know, we went in a big pack and I just stayed close to the group. Like a school of fish, I stayed in the middle so I wouldn't get eaten by the sharks. Or maybe we scared the sharks away from our big school. Either way, it worked. Just for the record, I haven't crossed a street by myself yet, not sure this is a necessary skill to learn at this point. I've avoided it for five days now. Somehow Hillary got separated from the pack. She claims she was calling our names.

This is a picture as we just walked into the market. They are even on their scooters in the market. Seem to be missing some pics of the street in Thuan An. Will take more soon!

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