21
Jun
13

This is Vietnam!!!

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One of the most enduring sights of Vietnam’s spectacular growth over the last twenty years, in addition to the traffic, are the power lines in he city.  Each pole has wires that seemingly create a chaotic, irrational web of cables coming from every direction and devouring the pole in black plastic as the cables come to just as irrationally placed junction boxes.

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When I first saw it, it thought, “what an irrational way of getting power distributed, it doesn’t look safe or reliable.” Well, what I learned from talking to folks on the street and business owners and the most knowledgeable people, when you have an interpreter- taxi drivers- I found out that Hanoi’s power is safe, and effective. Given the massive amounts of smog clearly the coal fired power plants are delivering reliable and constant electricity as evidenced by the growing neon signs and glowing beauty of the city at night.
The second thing I thought was, “there is no way this is run by a government, these people must be hacking into the system, like I saw in South Africa.”
Once again, I was wrong. the government actually comes out and creates this seeming chaos on purpose!1 Believe it or not, the power distribution is completely rationalized, the issue is in places like the old city center where we are- the Ancient and French Quarters of town, there are no modern, underground cables, and with the chaotic way homes are constructed here with no real planning in terms of a grid, the only way to get power to homes and businesses is this above ground, spider web approach.
So this is Vietnam- it looks chaotic, but if you examine it, look at it and try to understand- it may looks nuts- but it makes sense.

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