Traffic at Sunset

Glowing clouds and brake lights from the top of Hotel Xoai in Can Tho.

The sunset in Can Tho looked like it was shaping up to be pretty spectacular, so Quan and I headed up to the rooftop bar at our hotel. From that vantage we had a perfect view not just of the sunset and moonrise, but also the rush-hour traffic. They say that the traffic in Can Tho is downright tame compared Saigon, but it’s enough to give you a sense of the rules of the road—or lack thereof.



Rush hour red light backup.

My favorite tactic (in the most incredulous sense) is the method for cutting over to the other side of the street on a motorbike. From the curb, you point yourself head on into oncoming traffic and make your way across to the other side at a diagonal. It’s insane, but I suppose that way you can see what’s coming straight at you.

Oh little bicycle…you should have tried crossing head on:

Red lights seem to create particular backups and headaches for a traffic culture not accustomed to stopping. And if you’re a little green car, apparently you can try to cross over wherever and whenever you want:

Crossing at a crosswalk is its own adventure—no yielding for pedestrians here.  If you keep walking at a steady pace, the motorbike drivers can guess your trajectory and swerve accordingly. But it’s still a stop-and-start ordeal, trying not to get broadsided from either direction.

Here you can experience crossing the street for yourself. Sorry for the camera shake—I was definitely looking at the oncoming traffic and not through the viewfinder!

The rooftop sunset also means I got my own impromptu photo shoot. Thanks, cousin Quan!

Photo by BảoQuân Nguyễn.

1 thought on “Traffic at Sunset

  1. I used the same strategy for crossing a street on foot in Jakarta! So scary! Good timing and no hesitation is the name of the game. Be careful out there, Erin!

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