Hanoi Xe Om Rides

What with going to different schools and looking at housing I’ve been taking a few longer xe om rides. I’ve started carrying my little Flip Mino HD video camera. It’s easy to manage on the back of a scooter and can be very inconspicuous (sometimes while walking I hold it to my ear like it’s a cell phone, to avoid attracting attention). I’ve started to get a handle on iMovie, Apple’s low-end video software, and am having a bit of fun processing the videos. I started with a few snippets of disc golf shots for discgolfisland.com and today worked on my first xe om video.

It was a fairly mellow ride so there’s nothing too crazy here; but it shows the shore of West Lake, a rather large lake not too far from the Old Quarter. This particular day I was off to look at an apartment. I really should have taken some photos of the apartment block and neighbourhood for your appreciation. First my driver couldn’t find it and I needed to send/receive a few text messages on my Blackberry to meet the agent. The apartment block was off the main streets, down in the midst of a neighbourhood accessed via small alleys. It was 15 stories and quite imposing. I just didn’t find it very attractive; but then I’ve never been a fan of large blocks. So the search continues.

So here it is, without further ado…. my first complete xe om vid, hosted by YouTube:

And next up: a more expressionistic video of my ride back along a crowded 4 laner with lots of exhaust. I think I’m starting to get the hang of some of the iMovie features…. enjoy the ride!

I have to make sure the real estate agents have a good grip on what I’m looking for. Although the view was nice along the lake, the time, money and pollution inhaled were not justified by the house hunt results. Although riding the xe oms can be fun it can be a bit too thrilling at times. Like when I felt my elbow being hooked by another scooter’s handlebar in rush hour traffic. A couple of times I’ve braced myself for impact (probably better to stay loose!) and once, on the above ride, the driver had to slam on his brakes which drove me into his back. If I were to take a regular car taxi, however, there’d be a good possibility of being stuck in traffic. The scooters do sneak their way around obstacles.

Well… That’s All Folks! for today anyways. Pics of house hunting and school daze coming soon….


  1. Hi Kelly
    Don’t think the one I just sent got through. I enjoyed the videos. It reminded me a great deal of the coordination of traffic in Bali other than there are many more scooters in Vietnam – Like a well synchronised ballet.

    1. I’ve got my own wheels now, a Yamaha electric assist bicycle, so I’m part of that ‘ballet’. However, it’s a ballet choreographed by the Marx Brothers. Chaos and anarchy rule. And the music’s purely avant-garde noise. You can never tell if someone’s honking their horn for a reason: they just honk randomly and incessantly. And an American living here told me that the PA announcements at 4:30pm are not propaganda, they’re daily instructions on how to confuse the foreigners who have enough nerve to drive here! Pictures of my new wheels coming soon….

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