First Paragraph: Writing Samples

Hanoi (Observer Winner)

Traffic in Hanoi

I stand on a narrow pavement outside Hanoi's Opera House at dusk. Bikes, mopeds and cars weave intricate patterns in front of me. Some have headlights on, some not. Their horns and bells make erratic music.

I can't see any person sized gaps in the dense traffic but I need to cross. Concentrating hard I step into the road. A moped slides round my back and I jump but continue moving. The noise is disorientating as everything swerves around me and I keep stepping forward. No markings show the middle of the road, only turmoil from the other direction.