Born To Ride

When Bruce Springsteen was singing about Born To Ride, I wonder what he would have thought about the streets in Vietnam, much different I might add, then the Streets of Philadelphia.

I was totally fascinated with the majority of the population riding scooters.  Of course, now that I’m home I have a ton of questions. The first one is knowing the difference between a scooter and a motorcycle.

All you easy riders out there may already know the difference, not so much for me.  So this is what I learned:

While there are many similarities, such as they are both street legal, they have brake and head lights, directional signals and side mirrors. They also each have handlebars and a seat.  All well and good.

I can tell you, from my experience, they clearly do NOT use directional signals…they use a horn instead! Think of New York cabbies times 1,000. I am just happy when they are all facing in the same direction. That is not always the case, not to mention using the sidewalk going in the wrong direction!  Yikes, that’s pretty scary.  You have to be very alert.

Here is also another difference, which I can clearly understand now.  On a motorcycle you need to straddle the seat.  On a scooter, you just step through and sit with your legs on the floor board. Their wheels and engines are usually smaller.

Lesson over, the things you can learn on Google.  Now for empirical demonstrations, here are some of my favorite scooter shots.

You almost have to be there to appreciate that everyone is on a scooter.  Age is not a deterrent. Families ride together, helmets are not required until children reach age 8. And even then, often you didn’t see helmets.

Stylish shoes! Cute ruffle dress!

For those of us that have SUV’s, going to Home Depot to gather building supplies is pretty much a slam dunk, you just open the tail gate and you’re good to go. Imagine those items on a scooter, not to mention using your back as a brace!!

Imagine this on a daily basis!!

Or how often do you want to gather your ducks to take to…I don’t want to know where?

Perhaps you need to make a cell call.  At least she pulled over.

Maybe you just need to gather the family dog.

Style is everything; so many women all dressed up, either sitting directly or very often “side saddle”.  I think they all have built in sonar.  Nobody holds on, yet thankfully I never saw anyone fall, or an accident over to the side of the road.

And you think our parking lots are full, check this out!

Bicycles are also used; some have 2 wheels, other three.  Everyone just moves down the road together including the busses and the occasional car.  This picture was out in the country, not nearly as crowded.  Yes, many people wear face scarves, I will tell you more about that another time.

I just can’t help myself; I thought these were so cool!!

Our guide Van explained, that status with scooters and motorcycles are great “chick magnets” he called them the “Hot Scooters.”

As you can see, there are lots of scooter stories that could be part of the Born To Ride song.

Finally as I was looking out the window on our last day in Hanoi from the Sheraton, I watched as the workers gather for their day on the job.  What a sight and what a country!!