Street-Level Saigon



Our guide said that in Saigon there are 2.2 million vehicles, and 7.5 million scooters. I haven’t fact-checked him, but I have no reason to doubt his numbers. Until the moment was upon me I had forgotten that our tour of Saigon was supposed to include a ride in a tri-shaw, or cyclo as they’re called here. Take a careful look. See how it’s just a flimsy frame, allowing a passenger to perch precariously in front of someone who’s pedaling? See how said passenger is sitting well below the level of the other traffic? What you can’t see is how the cyclo I had to endure was pedaled by a guy who looked about 70, and weighed about half of what I do. Or less.

I admit to being petrified. Saigon traffic is already in the “shut your eyes and hope for the best” category, and to be right in…

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