As I meandered into work on Monday I stopped at the juction I stop at everyday. Nothing of interest ever happens here, and on the surface of it, nothing interesting was going to happen on the Monday either. Negotiating junctions can sometimes be a little hard work - and no, this isn't a Vietnamese bad driving story or one of those 'oh! How difficult it is to the cross the road' stories we've been plagued with in expat magazines for the last few months - we live here! Get over it!.
No this incident was just a funny and unfortunate combination of innocuous events. As I pondered life, the universe and everything waiting for a sufficient gap to open up to nose my bike into the torrent, I caught sight of a young Vietnamese with a carrying pole and baskets, an everyday sight, which you become immune to how interesting you found it all when you first arrived. Mind now focused on the real life Frogger game I was part of, I pulled into the middle of the junction - quite acceptable behaviour I hasten to add - and sat there waiting for the other lane to clear sufficiently. For some reason I felt the bike was acting slightly sluggishly and began wondering whether it was time for a checkup. I began to pull away again, when for some reason in the noise around me I picked up a tiny voice "hello?", don't know what that was, so I paddled my bike a yard further forward. Again the diminutive: "hello?" this time in a slightly more urgent tone. Now at this point the road had cleared to my right and I was just about to put my foot down and zoom off, when I decided to look around, and saw the poor young woman, peering up from fiddling around with my bike her conical hat tipped back, her yoke and baskets all asunder, as she'd managed to slip the strings supporting the rear basket through the back of my bike! I'd been physically dragging her across the road, and she was now slap bang in the middle of the junction! After first not realising what she'd been up to, fiddling with my bike I exclaimed: "Oi!", which thankfully just means "hey!" or "oh!" in a polite way, I then couldn't help but start laughing as I realised what had happened and it could have so much worse! I also looked around the junction and realised that everyone was cracking up with laughter, and for once my driving wasn't the butt of the humour! Thankfully the woman wasn't carrying a lit charcoal brick, oranges or anything like crockery and so she soon wended on her way, none the worse for the experience. Me? I had a grin on my face for the rest of the day. Ah Hanoi, I love you!