Motorcycles & Impossible Loads in Vietnam

Motos, Motos & More Motos!

Motos & More Motos!

There are 90 million people and over 40 million motorcycles in Vietnam. There seem to be motorcycles everywhere you look. In the big cities, especially Saigon and Hanoi, motorcycles make it very hard for people to cross the street. The motorcycles do not stop at red lights and they don’t seem to follow any of the rules of the road. Lots of motorcycles ride on the sidewalks, and I was once almost hit by a motorbike that came up in front of me onto the sidewalk. I also saw some motorcycles carrying full families (a dad, a mom, a sister, a brother, and a baby) driving at full speed and with nobody wearing helmets. Some other motorcycles had what I call an impossible load. This type of load is when a motorbike carries something way bigger than the driver. It might be an orange tree, a 15-foot bamboo ladder, a big screen TV, a refrigerator, or a 500-kilogram load of mangoes! In Canada, these loads would be illegal and sometimes more than we put in cars. Somehow the motorcycles and their loads manage to get safely through the streets!

Here are some pictures of impossible loads I saw:

Entire Family on Moto!

Entire Family on Moto!

Orange Tree on a Motorcycle

Orange Tree on a Motorcycle

Bamboo Ladder

Bamboo Ladder

Tying On a Big Screen TV

Tying On a Big Screen TV

500 Kilos of Mangoes & a Woman on Top!

500 Kilos of Mangoes & a Woman on Top!

Transporting Art! The art is attached to the moto!

Transporting Art! The art is attached to the moto!

A Step Ladder, Pole and Other Things!

A Step Ladder, Pole and Other Things!

Delivering Water!

Delivering Water!

Fridge & Other Things!

Fridge & Other Things!

Another crazy load!

Another crazy load!

Visiting Ho Chi Minh – Hanoi, Vietnam

 

Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum

Determined to visit the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, the father of communism in Vietnam, my family and I woke up early one morning and set out into the crazy Hanoi traffic to try to find him. As his mausoleum had very limited visitation hours – only a few hours each morning and a few days each week, we hurriedly walked through the pouring rain for over two kilometers before reaching the north gate of Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. Unfortunately, the guards at this gate told us that we had to enter the complex from the opposite side, over a kilometer away. As it was fast approaching ten and entry closed at 10:15, we had to rush. Fortunately we made it just in time, and we were through the queue for security screening by 10:10. We were then marched two-by-two in groups of thirty from the security building to the mausoleum. While we were walking towards the granite building where Ho Chi Minh was being showcased, there were guards posted every ten meters, dressed in pure white uniforms – even wearing white gloves and white rain boots. When we reached the mausoleum, I noticed that the path leading up to it was a red carpet, with guards on each side, which I

Guards in Front of the Mausoleum

Guards in Front of the Mausoleum

found odd because I associate a red carpet with royalty. Inside the mausoleum, guards were posted on every corner, increasing in number as we neared the room where Ho Chi Minh was resting. This room was dimly lit, and many guards lined the walls, each holding a rifle with a bayonet. Ho Chi Minh was elevated on an island about 3 meters in height with four guards encircling the base. His hands and head were backlit, giving Ho Chi Minh an unearthly look. His skin showed no sign of deterioration, and it appeared that he was simply sleeping, not dead. Nearing the conclusion of our extremely short viewing of Ho Chi Minh, my mom noticed a nearly invisible screw poking out of his neck. When she stopped to look more closely, a guard aggressively told her to keep moving. In the end, we were only able to view Ho Chi Minh’s body for about thirty seconds, but I thought that that was more then enough time to stare at his embalmed corpse. Overall, I found the whole experience unnerving, the soldiers standing so still – like statues, with their eyes fixed on the walls behind us, and Ho Chi Minh in his eternal sleep.

Note: It is forbidden to take pictures in the mausoleum, and all cameras are confiscated on entry. Knowing this, we didn’t bring our camera and do not have pictures. The pictures here were taken from the internet.