New digs

This guest house lark is all very nice and comfortable, but it isn’t cheap, so I move into a flat next Tuesday.

It’s in Clare St, Parramatta Park, where I’ll share a downstairs flat with two others. Private bedroom, aircon, desk, broadband, and shared bathroom, kitchen , living area, $165 AUD / week.

I’m a little nervous about the caper, having told myself in 2018 after a cold winter in a Railway Terrace, Whg flat, that that was the last time.

But the house-owner seems like a straight-up no-bs sort, and it was advertised as a “non-party” ( read codgers’ ) household, so all may be well.

Pedalling

I’ve been putting in the biking miles, and will be buying my own ( second-hand, circa $80 ) for transport as I’ll lose the free use of the guest house two-wheelers.

Sights

.. and I’ve been further exploring the Esplanade and waterfront. Evidence below.

July 22, 7:47 a.m., the Bay
July 20, 10:29 a.m., the Salt-Water pool
July 22, North End of the Esplanade, looking over the Bay

Laden

The above are run-of-the-mill sights on Vietnamese Roads, any one of which would be like rotting meat to flies for NZ cops.

Everyone here, including cops, pretty much ignores these spectacles. They do present a challenge for novices such as myself, inasmuch as getting past them on narrow streets is a fraught game.

But all part of the fun.

I ran across the pictures in a quora.com post , Thailand v. Vietnam, and couldn’t resist nicking them.

The Roads: Anarchy in ‘Nam

The Vietnamese are horny bastards.

Sorry, nothing to do with sex, just that noise pollution is the first thing you’ll notice on the roads here.

Horns blare like Morse code. In New Zealand a horn blast often equals a middle finger. Here , it’s just a way of announcing your presence.

Until I realised this , I was as jumpy and aggro on the roads as a moose in the Roar.

Then, I stopped taking it personally.

Rather than slowing down and looking both ways, many Vietnamese motorists will just blast their horns at an intersection, most of which have no lights.

Ive listened to car drivers travel hundreds of metres down a straight thoroughfare, blasting their horns every 20 or so metres.

Car drivers are a privileged breed here – import tax is very steep – so they’re outnumbered by at least 10 to 1 by motorcycles.

Still, there’s an arrogance about them. I guess it’s built-in – there’s a certain nonchalance required to clog up the narrow road arteries with a sausage-like SUV.

Doing the Rounds


The many roundabouts are especially… exhilarating. Nevermind the fact that they must be negotiated anti-clockwise, as opposed to Home’s clockwise route.

On the big ones there can be, what, a hundred-plus bikes riding one at busy times.

The trick, I’ve discovered, is to choose a line, and stick to it. Hesitate, or do something unexpected, and you’re roadkill. Or , stranded in the firing line like a sitting duck.

All that said,the Vietnamese are mostly very skilled motorcyclists. They’re so blase about it, every third guy is smoking and riding, every second girl is checking her cellphone, every 5th bike is loaded with a cargo-full, and every 8th bike is loaded with three people or more.

On the other hand, unlike Thailand, you’ll rarely see helmet-less riders.

On the third hand, I’ve only ever seen cops directing traffic, as opposed to collecting taxes and Christmas fund donations.

The ride to work is 15-20 minutes, but I enjoy it. Nothing like a bracing ride in the warmth, followed by a stiff coffee with butter, to get the juices flowing of a morning.