(UPDATE) Here’s a video clip of motorbikes in Saigon posted on INQUIRER.net TV.
Ho CHI MINH CITY — It was hard to miss the swarm of motorbikes on the streets of Ho Chi Minh city. Vietnamese love motorbikes. Young and old, men and women dressed casually or formally, young couples, friends, neighbors –every person you can imagine were riding motorbikes. It was an amazing sight. Motorbikes came from all directions. Crossing the street required guts—lots of it. Motorbikes seemed extensions of their feet. They moved around like pedestrians in a sidewalk. They followed an invisible line. They never bumped into each other despite the absence of traffic lights. It was, as one foreign journalist described, an “organized chaos.” I watched them with delight. On my way to the Claravelle hotel in Saigon, I saw two guys side by side talking (note: not on the same bike) while negotiating corners. I saw another man in his 30s talking with someone on his mobile phone not minding the danger of bumping into other motorkbikes going the other direction. My eyes followed him. I was afraid he might hit another motorbike. In Saigon, bikes outnumbered cars. There were taxis in the city. But motorbikes were everywhere. One journalist friend said they numbered in the millions. But this is Saigon.