Today I had planned to visit the War Museum but I ran into trouble getting the motorcycle app working correctly and then ran into trouble getting to the bus. But all of that in good time.
For unknown reasons, Gojek would not register my Visa (credit) but only my MC (debit). I spent an inordinate amount of time investigating and researching and attempting all to no avail. Just won’t work. Not clear why. I’d rather use the credit card. C’est la vie.
I left the house early enough, following the g-maps instructions for getting to the bus stop by a thirty minute walk. I had considered taking the motorcycle taxi but wanted to give a go at taking the bus. The instructions take me up a road that runs parallel to the highway that’s nearby. Instead of crossing directly the instructions were to walk East for a bit, then cross the highway, and finally return West on the opposite side to continue on the way. Supposed to be about a half an hour walk to the stop.
So I walk up the parallel road passing the direct spot, observing the distinct lack of light, crosswalk, and the twelve lanes of traffic. Clearly wouldn’t be wise to cross here. I walk up until the point where maps says to cross and noted the distinct lack of light, crosswalk, and the twelve lanes of traffic. I walked a little further along thinking perhaps… no. Nothing as far as the eye can see. Both sidewalk and highway curve off the the left eventually but nothing apparent.
I stop someone and gesture to a man leaning against his car: map says cross here, big fucking highway, what the fuck? He looks at the map, looks up and down the highway, and looks at me with a look you can guess: what the fuck is right.
So I turn around and head back West, searching for some way to cross. Eventually a woman walking her dog approaches and I ask about crossing the highway and explain the map problem. She confirms there is no underpass, no overpass, no sky-bridge, no crosswalk. You can take your chance crossing the twelve lanes or you can walk to where the highway crosses the river and there walk under the highway.
That’s the way I’ll go then. Funny to think some slopped a highway right through a city and made no concessions for pedestrians to cross it anywhere. Anyway, I walked down to the river and then under the highway to the other side.
Really wondering about this bus idea. But, you know, when you are committed you see it through. I take advantage of these new streets and seek out interesting things to shoot. About eleven I see a good place and think I should probably eat now since I won’t get another chance for some time.
After several attempts using English, German, and Vietnamese the helpful lady and I agree I will eat. I have ordered grilled pork ribs and rice and it comes with a couple condiments (vinegar and also some chilies) and a bit of soup (cabbage or cabbage-like). I would later call this a light lunch. I could have eaten a second lunch but it did what was required at the time and it was less than $2. Hard to beat.
Ok, so now maybe I’ll look for this bus stop. At some point I’ve decided today would be better for me to visit Ao Dei which is a museum about the traditional Vietnamese garb and which also has other cultural elements as well. I check maps and somehow it’s still half an hour walk to the bus stop. Are all the stops thirty minutes away?
Off I go shooting all the way. I get to the street I need to cross to catch the bus as the bus is driving past. Luckily the bus comes every fifteen minutes. While I am waiting a couple on a motorcycle stops and the man disembarks the rear to wait for the bus as she speeds off down the road. The bus comes and we embark on this next leg.
The bus ride is long. Ao Dei is rather remote for a museum.
The drive stops the bus at one of the somewhat rare traffic lights and darts off the bus, bowl in hand, stopping outside the door for a quick exchange with the lady who sells the tickets on the bus; then he disappears from sight in pursuit of soup. Miraculously, he drops into his seat as the light is changing and we are off again. Not clear how one eats soup while driving a bus. (But since I’d already seen a man riding a motorcycle one-handed while watching a YouTube video (horizontal) with the other hand I figure I can assume and forgo the investigation.)
The city thins as we travel through the streets. Next we stop for gas. So many new experiences!
A couple of minutes before my stop I stand and position myself near the rear door. I even push the little red button (though no sound comes from that). At some point the ticket lady asks if I want to get off the bus. “I wanted to get off the bus way back there.” Not sure what I missed about signaling my desire to exit. Anyway, they pull over and I’m hoofing it again. I think my eight minute walk is now sixteen. Meh.
This is out there. It’s like a one and a half lane road with pit stops every so often, like strip malls but not. I walk back to the turn and head in the direction of the museum. On my way the road loses its pavement for gravel. A lot more bird sounds. Then, just outside the entrance, I find three cows chilling.
They are good subjects but each time I pull the camera to my eye and fix it on one of the cows, one of the other cows walks closer while I can’t see. I head to the museum before the act on their murderous intent.
This place was worth the trip though. Just a great space. I spend the entire afternoon walking through all the bits. The garment part is well done but really only represents a small fraction of what one can see here. Glad I made the trek.
I meet a couple of marketing students who have rented a camera and traditional garb for the day. None of us knows why the ao dei have very long sleeves. The old ones anyway. The contemporary ones have more modern sleeves. Purists lament! Purists can suck it.
It rains thrice and each time everyone ducks under one of the structures.
The first time it rained I entered the open building next to the on-site cafe. I was looking at the list of offerings and a guy came over the assist. They had milk-coffee and milk-tea and some juices. I forget what the other juices were but he said lemon. I went with lemon guessing he probably meant lime since that’s pretty popular.
He approached my table and the cup held an orange liquid. Ok, so maybe he meant orange. But no; it was mango. Fuck it. If I’d known they had mango I’d have ordered that!
You gotta laugh.
I shot eleven hundred pictures today.
After the third rain I was again back in this same building only now with my new marketing student friends. Hoping the rains were done we wished each other luck (they motorbiked down and I was going to motorbike taxi back) and I walked back toward the main road.
Once there I ordered a bike via Gojek.
Up came my bike and I got on the back with my helmet in place and my gear secure in my pack. Off we zoomed. As we returned to the fabric of the city the traffic increased in chaos. This was now near seven and every car and bike and motorcycle and pedestrian was taking to the streets.
In your best movie trailer voice: In a world where painted lines are barely suggestions, two men ride a motorcycle the streets…
Oh, crap. It’s raining again. Mr moto-taxi pulls over in no particular location and I’m wondering if he is going to get a bowl of soup, but no he says “raincoat” and he opens the seat and dons he raincoat. Then we are zipping in and out of traffic once again.
So many motorcycles. Just wave upon wave of them. Mostly making turns and merging. I’m guessing from above it looks a lot like herds of cattle merging. We did drive past an accident on the highway. A motorcycle and one of these not-quite truck things from the look of it. Probably not good. Never is.
Sure enough, as we rode past that area there were a couple of pedestrians trying to cross the twelve lanes of traffic, after dark with heavy traffic. Would anyone like to buy a sky-bridge?
Oh, keep in mind I never saw our speedometer rise above 46 kmph (about 29 mph).
Back home and wrote this. Maybe I’ll post more pictures later.