13 Stages of Driving a Motorbike in Vietnam

1. Utter confusion

image This isn’t how we do it in [insert home country]. This is madness… I need order!

2. Denial

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I’ll never drive here, it’s far too unsafe, I don’t need a bike to get around anyway.

3. Realisation

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I need a bike so badly. I’m a social outcast, a hermit, a loser!

4. Complaining

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My bike is too heavy/has all these crazy gears/has no mirrors/has no wheels.

5. Acceptance

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If that guy can carry a whole dining room set on a 50-year-old electric bike then I can probably drive this half-decent motorbike.

6. Self-Consciousness

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Everyone’s looking at me and laughing! I bet they’re thinking ‘stupid foreigner trying to drive in Vietnam’. Oh no, wait, they’re saying ‘stupid foreigner trying to drive down the highway on a flat tyre’. Hmm, fair enough.

7. Independence

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Just ignore all these nutters, drive slow and steady on the right side of the road and nothing can go wrong.

8. Giving In

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OK, some dodging, winding and beeping may be needed.

9. Enjoyment

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No written rules, no insurance, no speed limit. I feel so free!

10. Over-confidence

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Nyooom, nyooom, nyooooooooom!

11. Accidents

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I crashed…

12. Getting Straight Back on the Bike

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Everything around me is a risk or a danger… Children appearing to drive bikes, dogs jumping out of moving vehicles, farm animals being transported on the back of bikes…

13. Vietnamese-ness

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I think I’ve got it!