I Don’t Know How It Works…But It Does.

Finding your way around Saigon can be a real challenge, but we’re actually starting to make some progress. Well… sort of. I’m beginning to recognize some streets and even a few street names, but our world is expanding, like the universe, very slowly. Saigon is not easy to grok. Streets are jammed with motorbikes, and it’s hard to pay attention to orienteering and orientation when motorbikes swarm like a school of minnows around your taxi. I imagine that seen from above it would look like a diagram of Bernoulli’s Principle. The swarm flows fluidly, like water, finding the path of least resistance. It is absolutely riveting to watch from inside the cocoon of a taxi and try to figure out how it works. Stoplights are only advisory, and cars drive on the left with bikes on the right – except when the car needs to make a right turn and nudges into the swarm to negotiate the maneuver. Even U-turns are handled as if they were a normal. One of the secrets is that nobody is moving very fast. In fact, cars move more slowly than the motorbikes. Add rain and it’s a rainbow of plastic ponchos moving in unison. I still haven’t figured out how it works… but it does.

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