Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hanoi day 1 agenda: a) get hit by motorbike

Today being my first full day in Vietnam, I decided it would be best to get hit by a motorbike. So that's exactly what I did this evening. It really shouldn't be much of a surprise since statistically it's almost impossible not to get hit at least once in, like, a one-month period, unless you never try to cross the street. I'm fine - all I got was a minor scrape on my left elbow. More painful was the bruised ego, as it happened in front of all 6 of my colleagues plus the coordinator from the Australian NGO.

In my own defense, I believe it was a one way street, and I was looking in the direction (to the right) of oncoming traffic when I must have popped out from behind a van right into the path of a motorbike coming from the left. The guy didn't hit me very hard, but it did knock me to the ground on my side, which was the most ego-bruising part. He yelled a minute before hitting me, and while I was lying on the ground I instinctively said "sorry, sorry". He sort of paused, a little shocked - he had a young woman passenger - and when he saw me get up and say I was OK he drove on, which I was very happy to see him do.

It was definitely my fault. Even though it looks like it was a one-way street, there really are no traffic rules in Hanoi from what I can see. They're more like guidelines. People sometimes stop at stoplights, and there's definitely a protocol to crossing the street which I haven't yet been able to figure out but probably should in a little more detail before I try it again. Or I could just look both ways.

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