the art of crossing

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Slice of Life Challenge Day #30

The Art of Crossing

In NYC, you cross the street by looking both ways and if the street is clear of cars, buses, taxis or buses, you cross. A true New Yorker doesn’t pay much attention to weather the pedestrian crossing sign is red or green. New Yorkers are always busy and have some place to go.

In Seoul, you cross the street  by looking at the pedestrian crossing sign. Jaywalking is not as common as people will usually wait to cross.

In Singapore, you cross the street by looking to your left first, then to your right, since they drive on the left side of the road. I definitely had a few close encounters of looking at the wrong side when I first arrived. People tend to wait for the crosswalk sign to turn green. Singapore is pretty strict with their laws here! 🙂

In Hanoi, you look to check there are no cars coming right away then you just cross the street, not paying too much attention to the hundreds of scooters (motor bikes) coming your way. Our tour guide told us that there are about 1-3 scooters per person. When there are more than 6 million people in Hanoi,  that is a a lot of scooters on the narrow streets.

We quickly learned the art of crossing the street here after a week. You would very rarely see pedestrian crossing signs on the streets in the old quarter. Our technique worked quite well. You crossed quickly and looked straight ahead, without making eye contact with the mass of scooters and cars coming your way. It was easier for the scooters to weave around you as you walk then you stopping and waiting for the scooters to cease. The fact was, the scooters coming down the street were endless. You would be waiting all day to cross the street.

We were able to cross efficiently and safely using our method, even though most times inside I felt incredibly terrified that I would get hit.  Hanoi was definitely the only city I’ve been to where all the rules to crossing the street were completely opposite than what I was used to.

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5 thoughts on “the art of crossing

  1. elsie says:

    I had to laugh as I read your description of the traffic in Hanoi. The endless stream of scooters does make crossing traffic a challenge. I understand your fear every time you headed across the road, but you had the right idea, look ahead and let them miss you.

  2. jaclynfre says:

    This sounds like Jakarta!! We usually put out what we call “the magic hand” which is an up-turned “stop in the name of love” hand signal that seems to let oncoming cars, trucks, motorbikes, etc. know to swerve around us. I usually look for a human shield–a fearless native–and walk across the street with them. I must get to Hanoi!! This sounds amazing!

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