Connecting with the locals

By Sandra Gorry
This item appears on page 48 of the March 2018 issue.

This month’s winner is SANDRA GORRY of Yonkers, New York:

Crossing the street in Hanoi can be a life-altering experience. With no traffic lights or crosswalks and all manner of vehicles — mopeds, bicycles, motorcycles, pedicabs, cars — converging in total chaos (or so it seems), the pedestrian wishing to cross is coaxed to seize a moment and plunge into traffic with no hesitation, eyes straight ahead and no breathing until safely on the other side of the street.

On a visit about five years ago, I had just negotiated this traffic maelstrom and stopped to take a photo of the lovely French-colonial building directly in front of me. With my back to the street, I stepped off the curb, raised my camera and immediately was hit from behind by a moped.  

I watched in horror as the camera flew out of my hands and soared heavenward. I thought, ‘Oh, no. I’ve lost my camera on my very first day in Vietnam.’

But horror turned to amazement when I saw the moped driver stick out his hand and scoop the falling camera out of the air. He handed it back to me with a flourish, apologized for hitting me and drove off.  

One of the other members on the tour asked me, “Did that man just try to steal your camera?”

“On the contrary,” I replied. “He just saved it for me.”

Tell us about the funniest thing that happened to you while traveling in a foreign country. (ITN prints no info on destinations in the United States.) There are no restrictions on length. ITN staff will choose each month’s winner, who will receive a free one-year subscription to ITN. Include your full mailing address. Entries not chosen cannot be acknowledged.