19 Dec 2007

And Then There Was Christmas Traffic.....

As this will most probably be the last post before Christmas, may I wish anyone who blunders along to this site all the very best for the season and please try to believe that 2008 will be a great year. A year when religious nuts will just say prayers instead of blowing people up, all the institutions and government bodies who have my private life on their hard drives will try to keep it private, the ID card idea will be scrapped, people will finally wake up to the global warming myth and the government will start to govern for the people and not for the government. And if they find they just can't do that, then the entire European Parliament, UK and US governments will voluntarily check themselves into secure psychiatric units. {Or we could just hang 'em all from lamp posts.} It will also become legal to shoot pigs as they fly by with the ducks, pheasants and gees.

As the curtain comes down on this year I was jetted off for a spell in Vietnam; it's been a while, but nothing much has changed. At least not as far as the countries extremely strict traffic and driving regulations go................

ho_chi_minh_traffic j35scooters2_cr

I was to be picked up at Ho Chi Minh airport by a company driving person, but coming out of there can be a pretty traumatic experience as you fight your way through 25,000 new drivery 'friends' while looking for that one special drivery 'friend' who should be holding a six inch by six inch piece of paper with your name scrawled on it. Once my new, real pal was located, cunningly sitting down at the back of the 25,000 pretend pals, hand shakes and back slaps exchanged, we were off.

We drove through the city, which, by the way, is still known as Saigon to Saigoneeseries, and down the highway, the term 'highway' being used it it's loosest meaning of the word, to the relative piece of the coastal town of Vung Tau from whence I would be helicoptering out to the rig the next day.


This drive can be a two hour, or more than three hour adventure with the car horn set to 'Continual with Full Volume'. I believe that's the only setting Vietnamese car horns have.

I'm sure there must be shed loads of road accidents daily, or hourly, but none are apparent as you drive through what you are full sure is an imminent start of a major traffic strabash.

See all the motorcyclists? In all the years I have passed through this amazing country I have never, ever, ever, ever seen so much as one driver look in their rear view mirror or glance over their shoulder. Check out the video. It's true. You want to turn left or right? Then just do it. Total free style - and it all just flows leisurely along like some gigantic synchronized swimmery sort of stuff.

'How do you cross the road on foot?' You may be wondering. Are you nuts? Cross the road? You need to wonder that? Honest, it's the same over there as it is over here!! Well, OK, if you must, but first check this out. Please note that they are using a pedestrian crossing, but that's only common sense. There are more traffic shots here.

It all do give the impression that it all do work. But do it really work? I don't know if it do or don't. It just seems to do. I do, sorry, did get to Vung Tau in one piece. A tad tense, but one piece. Felt like my body was in stage 14 of rigour mortise. Is that how you spell it? That stiff stuff dead people do after a short flexible period.

One of the highlights of the trip was getting past a filling station where they were cleaning up all the fallen palm leaves and other dead rubbish and, bless 'em, burning it all on a gigantic bonfire - less than twenty feet from the pumps....... You gotta love it. Can you imagine the seventy kinds of purple fit nanny would throw over here with that?

As a by-the-by, during one of my first visits to Vietnam, I was told that if I was ever in a taxi and that taxi had any sort of accident, the trick was to throw some money on the seat and then to take off PDQ. The reason? It appears that if a taxi has an accident the fare is to blame and not the driver or the others involved. The reason being that if the fair hadn't hired the taxi, then the taxi wouldn't have been there and there wouldn't have been an accident. I can relate to that...... I really don't know if this still applies or not.

The return journey, after my time on a rig in the White Tiger field, was the more boring trip on the ferry from Vung Tau, up the Saigon river to, yep, you guessed it, Saigon.


Another traumatic thirty some minutes drive through Saigon to the airport and from Saigon, an uneventful flight back to Singapore.

The trip to the White Tiger? VSP still operate like it's day three after the discovery of fire - and will NOT, under any circumstances, change their ways of operating, and their ways of operating are totally unpredictable. More on this, for oil fieldy folk, another day......

And so once more, happy Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year to everyone who passes through this humble site.

And have a bit of fun here.

Quote - Tom Sims;

Did you ever notice that life seems to follow certain patterns? Like I noticed that every year around this time, I hear Christmas music.

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