Overcome life's extreme obstacles by overcoming your State of Mind
My husband Scott and I spent 2 months in South East Asia on our honeymoon in 2007. Our goal was to try to run in every new place we went so this is the start of that account.
Hanoi, Vietnam, October 2007
We were in complete culture shock when we first arrived in the city. In the cab ride over to the hotel we had booked the roads were completely packed with people on motorbikes and bicycles. We were one of very few taxis and cars on the road. Now when I say packed, I mean packed. Masses of people, sometimes 5 people on one motorbike, swarmed the road. There was no rhyme or reason to traffic. Very few stop lights, groups of cars and bikes just took turns merging into the giant mass.
It was my first lesson in organized chaos.
Running through the city was an adventure in its own. Scott and I memorized the address we were at and tried to keep track of the street signs but not knowing anything about the language we soon gave up and just enjoyed run. Our goal was to run to a park we had heard about so we made our way down the crowded sidewalks filled with street vendors selling anything from fresh fruits and veggies to clothing. Sometimes an impatient motorbike would drive on the sidewalks, swerving around people to get ahead of the traffic. Crossing major streets was like playing the video game frogger. We soon learned that you cannot wait for an opening in traffic- there never is one. You also cannot hesitate. Once you commit you must run and keep running until you make it to the other side, cars will just swerve around you.
We made it to the park and were surprised to see a myriad of people doing all different forms of exercise and activities. A large group of people practicing Tai Chi. Others playing ping pong (yes, there were about 6 ping pong tables set up in the park). Others doing some weird types of calisthenics that we did not recognize. But it was so refreshing seeing so many people out there being active in groups. Go to a park in the US and you'd be hard pressed to find that kind of thing (more like sitting around eating BBQ and drinking beer).
The other thing we noticed is that we did not see one other tourist or westerner. We were completely immersed and it felt like a different world to us.
We got a little lost on the way back (which became kind of a theme on the trip) and it didn't help that we didn't know the language to ask for directions or that all the roads looked the same. We eventually found our way back though and enjoyed a great breakfast of French pastries and the best coffee in the world (still have not found coffee anywhere that matches the taste and richness of Vietnamese coffee).
Run # 1- completed!