Monday, March 22, 2010

8 Million People, 8 Million Scooters?

Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam - We landed in Ho Chi Min when most cities would be subdued. The calm that follows a busy day in any major urban environment. No Saigon. I was invited to work with UniReach International, a Christian based non-profit that exists to deliver vital health care and educational resources for children, women, the poor and the sick in Vietnam. Although not an underwater assignment, or even a still photography project, I thought I would share a few images and observations from the trip.

The very first is motor bikes. For anyone who has been to Ho Chi Min in the past 5 years, that is all that needs to be said. For everyone else, it’s a difficult spectical to describe to be sure. The sheer number of individuals in Ho Chi Min is somewhere between 8-9 million. This number alone is not that staggering. The image that is staggering is how many of them depend on motor bikes in there daily life. The traffic is not just gridlock, in fact its quite the opposite. There is an extremely fluid nature to the city streets of Saigon. Every empty space is filled with motor bikes. Every few seconds with the sounds of horns. Sidewalks are fair game if they are needed. To say the lines are mearly a suggestion is even generous. Yes, there is a very unique energy here. Not the image of Vietnam I first expected.

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