I’m not the best person to hear tourists’ “I saw the craziest thing on the road today” stories. For one thing I probably see the same thing or more disastrous almost daily and I don’t feign surprise or interest well. And worse, I’ll probably share one of my own inconceivable stories that comes from a solid year on the Sai Gon streets. Either way, I’ve robbed their ‘four people on a bike’ story of its magic. I don’t like this part of my personality and I’m really trying to work on it.
To purge myself, I’m sharing some of my best/worst photos of overladen vehicles and improbable cargos. These photos are a simultaneous testament to people’s ingenuity, pragmatism, craziness, and desperation. Generally these people and their cargo are trying to make a living or just getting from one place to another; just stand back with your faces set to stunned.
An entire pottery shop on a bicycle.
A lot of people train their dogs to ride on their bikes with them; small mixed breeds, terriers, pugs, etc. This guy gets his Great Dane to squeeze itself in front of him. I ran down the street after them.
Another mobile shop; if you can’t find the basket that you want here, then it probably doesn’t exist.
So many plants on this mobile nursery, that I couldn’t see the rider.
I think it is only sheer willpower and good intentions that is keeping this motorbike and cargo together. Maybe some rope too…
Tourist cyclos (most tourists call them tuk tuks) do double duty taking cargo around town. Saigonese people are daring and skilled motorcycle riders, but not ‘four queen-sized mattresses’ talented.
These are light, plastic containers but the size of this cargo alone makes riding extremely difficult.
Sadly, this is the best example I have of long poles being transported on a motorcycle. I never seem to have a camera when I’ve seen full-length street lights being transported this way; one on either side of the bike for balance. Maybe one day.
Almost colliding with 30kgs of water spinach is a typical, early morning event near a traditional open-air market.
This is my best/worst photo of an overloaded Saigonese vehicle. He could barely reach the throttle to start moving and his riding looked pretty wobbly. Even the Saigonese native standing next to me couldn’t believe what we witnessed. This is why your stories don’t impress me.
Cargo witnessed, but not photographically recorded.
- Lobster tanks with water oxygen system – fixed to the back of a motorbike.
- Small refrigerator – held by a motorcycle pillion passenger.
- Box of live tree snakes – fixed to the back of a motorbike.
- Small mahogany armoire – held by a motorcycle pillion passenger.
- 60 live gold fish in bags – hung from frame on motorbike.
- 1.5 metre, potted mandarin tree – strapped to back of motorbike.
- Live, baby black bear – dragged in a cage behind a motorbike to advertise a circus during Vietnamese New Year traffic (the worst, craziest and loudest of Vietnamese traffic). I’ve never seen a more terrorised and frightened creature in my life.