Saturday, May 1, 2010

Reunification Day

The women marching are war widows

Yesterday, a public holiday in Hanoi, was 35 years since the Fall of Saigon. The holiday is known as Reunification Day and marks the end of the Vietnam War.

Yesterday was a time for all the locals to get out on the streets and mark the occasion. There were fireworks and a number of performances throughout the city and getting anywhere quickly was not an option.

I live above the West lake area and was heading for a few drinks with friends towards town. The best way to get there was the main road between West Lake and Truc Bac Lake. The road was gridlocked with cars and motorbikes crawling along. The main reason for the congestion was that many of the same cars and bikes decided to stop and wait for the upcoming fireworks. That meant that on either side of the road there was only really half a road (if that) to work with if you wanted to get past. What amazed me is that the people actually trying to get past never got annoyed or frustrated. At one point there were a number of bikes coming in the wrong direction trying to find a better place to sit and watch as hundreds or bikes and cars tried to get past. In what certainly warranted a good old piece of road rage didn't even raise an eyebrow from the oncoming Vietnamese. Amazing! There was absolutely no crowd control and people did pretty much whatever they wanted, which meant parking wherever they wanted.

I missed the fireworks but found the drive into town all the more interesting.

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