Tue June 11, 2013
The Most Dangerous Traffic Circle In The World?
I've been to New Delhi where traffic is frightening. I've seen pictures of Nairobi and Bangkok, where it's even scarier. But Ho Chi Minh City? The town we used to call Saigon? I don't think I'd put myself in a truck, car, bike or even a Sherman tank in that town. This video opens in the scariest traffic circle I could imagine — actually, it's beyond imagining — where bikes, cars and people seem simultaneously, collectively and individually heading straight at each other (when you look, just count the vehicles and people on collision course; there are at least two or three in every frame). It's a metropolitan circle of death, and yet ...
What Cezanne did for apples, Rob Whitworth does for city traffic. His short videos of big Asian cities — Shanghai and most recently Kuala Lumpur — make what for me (a Manhattan boy) are the boringest, ugliest, most useless parts of cities — the traffic clogged streets — oddly beautiful. He must have grown up in L.A., I decided. But when I looked, it turns out ... no, he's British. Go figure.