When crossing the street becomes an adventure, you know you've discovered a special travel experience. Just think of the stories you'll be able to tell when you return home!
But, for now a quick lesson on how to accomplish the seemingly impossible: crossing a busy Hanoi street.
The first principle is to understand that the drivers of the motor bikes and bicycles expect pedestrians. They've calculated that into their apparent chaos.
What they don't expect is for pedestrians to stop, change speeds, or backup. They also don't like to make eye contact with these human obstacles. Eye contact converts a barrier into a target.
So, to safely cross a busy Hanoi street, simply fix your gaze on your destination, take the first step from the curb to the pavement, and keep moving forward. Don't stop. Don't slow down. And, whatever happens, don't retreat.
After a couple of practice attempts you'll be crossing the street just like a Hanoi native. Oh, and one other note. You should learn to say, "hello and thank you," in Vietnamese. "Xin chao," is "hello" and "cam on" is "thank you." These two phrases will help complete your transformation from tourist to native and be very appreciated by your hosts.