The first thing many people think about when Vietnam is mentioned is the sheer number of motorbikes. And to be fair, this is a very accurate reflection on this tropical part of the world. However, they probably haven't told you about the amount of crazy things you can see transported on them. So let me enlighten you!
To start, the roads in Vietnam aren't designed for cars. They're simply not wide enough and some junctions can be pretty difficult to maneuver around. There is also a ridiculous volume of motorbikes and bicycles who swerve happily in and out of traffic which makes an already treacherous job even more troublesome for car drivers. Given this and the simple fact that cars out of the reach for most families financially, it is little wonder that you often see entire families on motorbikes! As a soon to be father, I find this terrifying! How can it be safe? How can the driver have complete control of the bike? What if one of the little ones decides to throw a wobbly when I'm traveling at high speed? However, pictures like the one seen above are incredibly common in VN. Being brought up in a country where I was chauffeured around by dad means I take having a car for granted, but I can't help but feel that more that 3 people on a bike must be incredibly dangerous!
Secondly, when you move house or buy white goods for your house, what do you think of? Things like removal companies, transit vans or delivery service springs to mind, right? Well not here! You got it, refrigerators, washing machines and televisions are all items that I've seen fastened to the back of a bike. I've even witnessed double beds, wardrobes and a sofa being transported across Ho Chi Minh City. Needless to say, these vehicles must be very awkward to drive. The weight severely limits the acceleration, the size and height of the goods often restricts the drivers view and steering is impeded. I'm not sure if moving your house in such a fashion is legal, but I'm yet to see anyone be punished by local law enforcement for moving goods from A to B in this way and I'm always amazed that there are so few accidents or damaged furniture in the transition! I'm probably just not skilled enough at driving to pull it off but still....!
This final picture might disturb a few people, and if it does I apologise. Whilst it's not overly common to see live stock transported in this way, from time to time I've seen piglets and chickens carried on the back of bikes similar to this picture. Needless to say it's very cruel to the animals and I can't imagine that too many people would want to devour these pigs if they knew this is how they had been treated. I can't even begin to think of how it must feel like to drive a bike when you can hear the animals crying and being in obvious distress but I don't really want to get into the rights or wrong of animal welfare. I've simply included this to inform or shock some people into realising just how essential motorbikes are to all aspects of life in Vietnam.