HCMC Dining Guide

Friday, May 24, 2013


Early Wednesday afternoon, as I drove from the magazine office to the newspaper office, I noticed that all of the stoplights along the way had suddenly gone out. Once I arrived a co-worker told me they had just had a power cut. When I left the office 40 minutes later I had a text from a friend asking if I knew anything about the 'massive blackout'.

I had no idea what he was talking about, but as I drove home from Phu Nhuan district I began to understand - every single stoplight between there and District 5 was out, and many stores had generators humming out front. Obviously something had gone very wrong. Traffic was absolutely insane, as the police only focused on managing a few major intersections, leaving every side street in chaos as people tried to navigate without green and red lights. The typical 'me first' driving style meant everybody attempted to power their way through junctions, making for a mess. I was amazed I made it home without seeing an accident.

Power was out in my building, and through texts I learned that Districts 1, 3 and 7 were dark as well. I could only handle the stifling apartment for so long before getting back on my bike and going for a late-afternoon ride to see what was up. I headed into District 6 and noticed that a few stoplights were back on. It was obvious that much of the city had poured into the streets to avoid the ovens that are houses when the air conditioning or fans stops working. Every tiny green space or sliver of sidewalk was packed with people fanning themselves or trying to make the best of the blackout.

A Vietnamese friend informed me that the government had announced that the power would be back at 5, and sure enough my building came back online around 5:30. All sorts of rumors had swirled during the afternoon-long outage. News reports soon stated that a truck that was planting trees in Binh Duong, a neighboring province, had accidentally struck the main, 500kv electrical line running from Saigon to Hanoi with its crane, knocking out power for a full third of the country - 22 out of 63 provinces. I feel like we should be worried that one little mistake can shut down an entire region of the country. The lights also went out in parts of Cambodia, including Phnom Penh, since they get a lot of electricity from Vietnam. Thankfully this mess was resolved fairly quickly. I can't image what it would've been like to spend a few days without power in this heat.

Full story: http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/9879/massive-power-outage-across-southern-vietnam


  1. "I can't image what it would've been like to spend a few days without power in this heat."

    Indeed. Better if the power goes out for days - simply hop on a bus and come up here "Central Air-conditioned" Dalat!

    And furthermore, we don't have to worry about power outages closing down our traffic lights, 'cuz...

    Dalat doesn't have SINGLE traffic light! ;)

    1. Both things to add to the 'Pro-Da Lat' column!