Driving me Crazy!!

The sign says it all

May and June weather in British Columbia and Alberta can be nice but it can also be terrible. As it happens, we have been very lucky so far, there have been cloudy periods with light rain on and off. The temperature is around the 15 degree range making it a bit cool, but not too cold. That is a good thing as it will take a day or two for my eyes to adjust to anything but sunny skies 😉 The drive back was uneventful. I was not able to drive straight through, I was getting tired so we rented a room for the night. I believe that is where we left

A winter shot

 off yesterday……

I have been wearing ear plugs when I sleep in Vietnam. There are constant noises that a person hears that can interrupt a good sleep. Traffic, roosters, construction noise, and other nuisances are everywhere. “At last” I thought, back in Canada where it is a quiet place where a person can sleep without earplugs. I have to report that I was woken up early by a sound that was much more irritating and bothersome than anything I experience in Vietnam!! The creaking and the footsteps of a person in another water parkroom. My God!! I wonder how people in apartments can live with this. In Vietnam, the buildings are all brick and concrete. Noise from other people moving about the house is non existent. There are many other noises to deal with. Until now, I have never realized how life interrupting the sounds of another is. At 6:00 am I was woken to the gentle creak and the soft thuds of a person in the room above be going to the washroom. I started to drift back to sleep when the flushing of a toilet re-woke me. Damn!! I have only had 5 hours of sleep!! What was next? The clang of a faucet engaging a shower, and the squeaking of feet on porcelain. There then were the other bathroom noises. I tell you what…. Of all the things that have woke me from a sleep in my lifetime….. This has to be the worst!! Give me the traffic or the roosters any

mountains

 day… At least it is constant and something a person can get used to.

The ride through the mountains was mostly uneventful and Mai was sleeping most the way until she was awakened by my cussing. It has been a while since I have been angry at traffic, but it happened as I approached Edmonton and was stuck behind drivers that seemed to have no experience. I turned off the main highway onto a freeway to make my way home and encountered construction everywhere. The work slowed down the traffic, but it flowed slowly until we reached our first traffic light. It was mistimed and only let a minimum of vehicles through. My face was turning red and finally I made it through. Just as my blood pressure started to drop, we hit another red light. It took 5 changes of the light to get through. Did I mention this is a freeway?? Now I am totally angry. I had given myself extra time on my drive so I could drop into my doctor’s office for a bit of business, but the delays caused me to be 5 minutes after closing. I had to stop at a friends place along route and relax a bit. All the reasons I wanted to leave are rushing back to me. Bless my wife Mai…. She did not get too upset with my anger and took a little time to calm me down. A funny thing that… let me tell you about it.

For a few years before we left for Vietnam, Mai had noticed that some of the changes in the city were affecting me in my work. There was construction and new traffic planning in the works, but what was getting to me was the total incompetence of the planners to get even the simplest of things right and every day it seemed that it was getting worse. A good job driving was turning into a nightmare. For about a year before I left, she was commenting I got angry at the road and driving situation here. She thought it wall all about me…… BUT….. After a month or so in Vietnam traffic that is sooooo much worse than Edmonton, She asked why it was I never got angry driving there even though I was constantly cut off and had to fight terrible traffic. As a matter of fact, she has commented on this dozens of times, and yes…. I never get angry driving in Vietnam even though the traffic is worse than you can imagine. It seems to work there. There is an order and un interrupted flow that gets you where you are going in reasonable time. I was not 30 minutes into Edmonton before the frustration of poorly timed traffic lights, and other frustrated drivers doing stupid things brought all the memories back. I would rather drive in Saigon, traffic is much less frustrating there.

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Owee

Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

4 thoughts on “Driving me Crazy!!

  1. Sounds like my weekly visits to Melbourne,a large ,busy,sprawling city in Victoria.What irks me the most is the impatience and blatant rudeness of the drivers.Its the quick and the dead ! I love riding my bike down to the shops,coffee & cake in the sunny street,or a daily swim in the cool,spring fed lake 2 mins away in summer.Arrrr,the fresh mountain air.Also like the strangers who will stop and chat in the street here,no fear of being friendly.Cheerio mate.

  2. Is there such a thing as “right of way” in Vietnam? Indeed, and governed by a strict set of rules at that. Simply, right of way belongs to the driver of the largest conveyance. Cars give way to buses and lorries, motorbikes give way to cars, bicycles give way to motorbikes. Pedestrians, being the lowest rung of the traffic food-chain, give way to all of the above. Going home commute time in Saigon (4 – 6 pm) is hellish. To prefer the chaotic Saigon traffic to that of Edmonton which, I imagine, does have some semblance of order, is absurd unless, of course, one is driving a tank!

    Commute time in Saigon must be experienced to be believed. Anything goes and pity the uninitiated pedestrian who risks grievous injury or worse while crossing streets there. Having said that, one does get the rhythm after a while and several close calls. The trick is to boldly step out into the first gap and continue on with steady, confident strides. The idea is the traffic will flow around you like water around a rock in a stream if you don’t stop, hesitate or stutter-step in which case you’ll feel as if you’re training to become a Bullfighter….

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