Exploring Ho Chi Min City
In 2017, I visited Vietnam. Travel and exploration are an important part of my studio practice. New sights and sounds, cuisine, textures and colors, and architectural details provide such a soul refresh. I always return to the studio with new eyes.
Ho Chi Min city (formerly Saigon) is a bustling city of over 7 million people. A combination of classic french culture and architecture, traditional temples and pagodas, beautiful landscapes, cafe culture, wonderful people, and world-class cuisine; it was a lure we couldn't resist. In so many large urban cities around the world, there is definitely a complex struggle between tradition and a new and changing population.
When we first arrived, the taxi driver asked us, "Why are you here? This isn't a tourist destination. This is an industrial city!" We couldn't disagree more. Although very busy and bustling, we loved wandering it's busy streets.
I was absolutely fascinated by the traffic in Ho Chi Min City. There are very few cars on the road and I have seen reports of 7-8 million motorbikes, motorcycles, and scooters on the roads of Ho Chi Min city.
There doesn't seem to be any set rules to how the traffic flow works. Yes, there are lights, but they don't really stop. There are two sides of the road, but yet they go up onto the sidewalk (any which way). The flow generally goes in one direction, but it isn't unusual to see one lone motorbike going the complete opposite way! On turns, it is like a patchwork of weaving in and out the entire way.
Crossing the street is definitely a unique experience. You have to step out and obstruct moving traffic in order to force them to stop. We would usually wait for a local to start walking across and tag close behind. It is a heart pounding experience each and every time.
It is a crazy tangled mess, but somehow it all works.