After a lot of research on Monday eve, I found what turned out to be a main connection – the Kangaroo Café – an English speaking, Tour Operator who directed me to place to purchase a new Simm card for my cell phone so I could call from Vietnam, a Chemist so I could purchase multiple face masks to filter the air and a trip to Halong Bay leaving on Friday. I started to relax and feel a little better.
Essentials covered, I set out to explore the city. While admiring lacquor ware in a shop window I ended up meeting a lovely English speaking Filipino woman who I spent about half a day with. What a god sent – she helped me with the money, referred me to a money changer for a better exchange rate than my hotel offered, introduced me to a wonderful Vietnamese Restaurant where we had lunch and most importantly, taught me how to cross the street and survive. Thank you Betty.
Sounds silly but judge for yourself. Motorcycles, scooters, cyclos, pedestrians, and cars are all over the place. Everything was being moved on some sort of bike. It is each man/woman for oneself. Its very common for the cycles and scooters to be parked on the sidewalk so more often than not, the pedestrian is forced to walk in the street amidst the moving vehicles.
Walking back to my hotel @ 5pm, I was stuck in a 5 intersection traffic jam where nothing moved and no one was there to administer. It was the motorcycles driving on the sidewalk that ultimately enabled the traffic knot to be untied.