One of my greatest pleasures in Vietnam was getting guided tours by my mum’s friends and relatives, riding on the back of Hondas. I loved all the impossible combination of people you see, especially the glam girls dressed up for clubbing, in heels and short dresses, somehow keeping modesty, holding on and riding side saddle. I watched as motorbikes were open and close enough to flirt and talk to your friends and intersection neighbours at red lights. There were often very young kids, and families too and often astounded by the coordination of cute kid-dad-kid-mum seating combination. I saw a whole pig being transported, strapped to the back of one in a cage. I funnily saw a guy transporting some piping, wearing it like a hula hoop around himself while driving.
The 100cc bikes were only motoring around 30-50km/hr in city traffic but it was quick enough to feel comfortable, speed and breezy. My mum’s friend said if I could ride a push bike, I could navigate on a motorbike as the philosophy is much the same. I’m adding riding a motorbike or scooter to the life to-do list.
I actually felt safer riding one than crossing the street amongst them. On my first ride, I thought to myself that riding Vietnam streets on a Honda was the feeling of LIFE (and cities, and design process.) It’s completely confronting at first. A bit uncomfortable at times and a desire for some more quiet and order. But once in the traffic stream underlying it is in fact an organized chaos that works and flows. It’s noisy and exhaust filled at some times when stopped at crowded intersection but it is filled of joyous moments of speed and freedom felt with a breeze in my hair. Like life, it is best done with a partner to hold on to. It is nice to drive, but also nice to have a leader and just sit back and enjoy the fun ride too.