Crossing the Street in Hanoi
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It's impossible to wait until there is no oncoming traffic. Further, if there are signals, it was impossible for us to understand which traffic was paying attention to the signals (apparently only the oncoming traffic on large streets but not left and right turners, and on small streets apparently only the larger vehicles heeded red lights.)
We soon found & practiced further advice: 1) Wait until any trucks and buses have passed
Essentially, we were relying on each individual scooter driver to see us and calculate our progress as they also kept track of the other traffic and pedestrians. When impact seemed imminent, each one would swerve slightly and miss us.
This was another instance of Asian city driving similar to what I witnessed in Chengdu, China. Speeds are a little lower, and each driver (and pedestrian) is hyper-alert to both visual and audio events so that traffic moves smoothly, courteously, and totally chaotically to Western eyes.
Even so, there was one busy four-lane (or more) street where we contemplated hailing a taxi to take us across the street(!) Also, alas, I must rule out Hanoi as a place where I could live, since I would never feel comfortable driving a scooter in that city, and the bus system seems geared more towards commuter travel than inner-city travel.