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The sound of traffic or “How to cross a Vietnamese street”

06:00 am, we are woken up by the sounds of traffic, the unavoidable horns, people bustling around, already busy with their businesses: preparing food to sell, transporting huge cupboards on tiny scooters, chit-chatting and more.

Don’t mistakenly take it for chaos. You need to stop, take it in fully and just watch from a distance for a while. Then you realize Hanoi is a kind of human bee hive: everyone knows their part. Everything seems to follow an invisible order. The only intruder is the common tourist. Crossing the street seems like a miracle when you watch locals. People cross six lanes of which tiny scooters and bigger cars make eight to nine easily. No traffic lights. No stopping of vehicles. Just the confidence that everyone behaves as expected. For the pedestrian, this behavior is a steady movement towards the other side. Predictability is a big deal for drivers – as long as they are able to expect where pedestrians move next and where they’ll be when on a level with them, pedestrians are safe. The biggest mistake is to stop and not trust in the system. The only thing you will prove with that is probably your own mortality.

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