Sunday, March 6, 2011

Saigon Kiss

Motorbike jam in Vietnam
I've expressed my love of Wiki from time to time.  Another one of my favorite websites is Urban Dictionary which helps me to keep up with modern slang.  A while back, I checked on some lyrics of a song I like by The Cult, Li'l Devil that mentions a "Saigon Kiss", which after checking with Urban Dictionary, means a burn on the inside of the right calf caused by the exhaust pipe of a small motorbike.  Which leads me to today's post!

Recently, a friend returned from Hanoi, and was telling me how jam-packed the city is with motorbikes and that the sidewalks are almost impassible with parked bikes.  To bring this concept home, he gave me a copy of an article from Friday's Wall Street Journal by Daniel Henninger which echoed the same theme!

There's nowhere to walk here explained a waitress in a Saigon restaurant.  The sidewalks are covered with motorbikes.  Saigon has been described as a city of nine million people and 30 million motorbikes.

Sidewalks taken over by parked motorbikes

I had no idea!  The article went on to describe Vietnam as a motorbike culture.  I'll have to check with Copenhagenize and see how that squares with his interest in alternative commuting - bicycle cultures. 

Thanks to those who contributed to today's lesson in world cultures, I learned something new today.


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