Xe om (going with a hug)


Going along with a hug or just the touch of another is one part of Hanoi’s transport that has ‘touched’ me.  As I looked around at the people I have been sharing the road with, I saw people sharing motor bikes giving each other a hug, resting their hand on the shoulder of the next, their body pressed against the back of another or their head rested on their shoulder.  It was sweet to see such signs of affection and I wondered if these simple touches had an impact on the relationships between people.  In cars and buses and even bicycles ridden alone don’t allow for the same level of incidental touch.  This was not limited to young couples.  Whole families were hugging in the traffic.  Friends were in touch and it was just part of a normal friendship.


The locals of Hanoi probably don’t think anything of this and that makes it all the more beautiful.  In a world where touching other people is limited to greetings, dancing and purposeful moments of affection I love that people can be in contact with each other for an hour and not think anything of it.  It’s just part of life.


It’s also nice that it takes place in public, and I hope, as it does for me, that it gives other people a positive feeling to see all these hugs on the road.

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