Is coffee time at Cafe Thuy. A busy place where coffee, WiFi, socializing rules. I fit in pretty nice just observing.
Today I had decided to see a part of Can Tho a friend that lives here told me about. There is a nice park to walk around, beautiful little canals and bridges throughout Can Tho. I don’t think many tourists or backpackers reach the spots because they are out of the way a bit. Here are a few things I saw today.
Nice day out today!
Last night I got to see my friend Lily that lives here in Can Tho for dinner and then we walked around the city and went to her favorite little coffee shop way away from the tourist areas. We sat for awhile talking about traveling and Vietnam. Its been nice visiting here but the time is slowly winding down here. I have three more days and on Friday I will do the early floating market tour and then Saturday I leave for Phu Quoc Island for a week.
Its been a particularly fun and wonderful time this visit to Vietnam. I’ve got to make new friends in Saigon which was very nice and got to see Lily. When I get to Hanoi I see two friends that live and work there. Its been awhile to see them so we will do dinner one night and then Bun Cha the next. Now I know I have to get back to Saigon this year. Its so easy to fly back from Phnom Penh and spend a week. The month long tourist visa is easy to get in a few days. I don’t think on that trip I can do more than just see my friends in Saigon.
The best thing it seems to me is that my Vietnamese friends seem to be more authentic, caring, and supportive and will understand when I wish to have “me” time. They are just the most wonderful of people.
Its always fun to reach a new place. A place not been to before and then just walk. Today I took the riverfront walk over a few bridges and then back into the main part of town. Can Tho is a peaceful town. Saigon is wild. The river is a primal force for Can Tho so industries, tourism, art, and life are pictured around life on the delta. Small coffee shops dot the side streets kind of quietly beckoning for an iced coffee. There are little neighborhood stores dotting the streets and people are very friendly. I was waved at, people slowed down on motorbikes to tell me hello, and kids waved at me a lot. It did not happen that much in Saigon.
What I saw today kinda looks like this. See what you think of Can Tho.
I only have a week here so each day is precious and unique. Each day will wander in a different direction and most likely end up by the water because the water is a force here for life. I will go see the floating market one evening on a boat tour. Perhaps Friday night. The city is quiet at night and there are not the vast numbers of tourists rambling the streets (thank goodness). I really start disliking the millennial backpackers in the big cities. Its nicer to find the places where only a few are seen.
Now I just relax, look at the pictures that my X-T30 took today. Think happy thoughts. Perhaps dream a dream about tomorrow briefly but tomorrow really never comes. Its a pipe dream of a moment where we indulge in our particulars.
So just indulge my wanderlust in a new place dear readers. In 5 days I go to an island for a week and then to Da Nang. I am excited all the way around. I came back to Vietnam and have discovered that its such a primal force of life, happiness, wonder and joy. Its easy to simply enjoy life here. Time does not spin out of control when I am the master of my moments.
I left today after one slight error at the HCMC bus station. I was supposed to go at 11am but you are supposed to get paper tickets at the window and of course there may be a sign up but I could not read it. Luckily I am in Vietnam when this happens so suddenly a small group of people assemble to help me understand and the lady from the bus company ensures I get my paper ticket. I had to wait another hour but when you really have no schedule or place to be or things to do, what does it matter.
It took about 4 hours and we crossed numerous beautiful bridges that my friend Lily told me are the biggest in Southeast Asia. Then I was dropped off at a place where there were cabs and was told that it was Can Tho. It was kinda under construction so it must be the new station. Anyways, yet another guy helped me with my baggage to the cab stand and for about $75k VND I got to the hotel. I had upgraded to the deluxe room which is really nice! I have plenty of room, windows, decent wifi. I am only here for a week so I will not be unpacking much and I also will be trying to see as much as possible in 5 days with the camera. The city is spread out along a river and there are parks and bridges and temples and stuff plus a lot of restaurants, coffee shops, and small neighborhood markets. I did the local Bun Bo Hue place tonight for dinner.
I found the place by leaving my hotel with the intention of finding this chicken rice place that was about a 5 minute walk but right across the street the big letters of the sign that said Bun Bo Hue just grabbed me. Of course, no English spoken but none needed either. They only do one thing there and I think they figured I wanted a big bowl :-). Bun Bo Hue is one of my favorites and you can tell by the name it originates from Hue Vietnam. Its a rich noodle dish with delicious meats, noodles, homemade broth that is probably a guarded secret, and then veggies and a delicious meat dipping sauce. I also got an iced tea and the whole thing came to $2.15 in USD.
Next door is a little neighborhood market of the same type you see all over Vietnam and Cambodia. They have just about a bit of everything for people so I went and got a bar of soap and a water bottle. Of course, not much English there either but we got it all figured out even with a lot of smiles and giggling. I’ve probably said before but I really love the Vietnamese and Khmer people. I have never been anywhere where people are so willing to help like at the bus station, or feed me, or give me the store stuff I need. Just lovely, kind, authentic people.
Tomorrow Can Tho…
Tomorrow is the first of my days to see the city and different stuff here. Breakfast first at the hotel since its included. Then will take off for an iced coffee and a day of exploring streets, parks, temples, the waterfront. Gonna be fun!
Tomorrow off I go to Can Tho Vietnam for a week. I’ve been exceedingly lucky this trip here and have met some very nice people here. All three of them are the epitome of what people believe to be true about Vietnamese people generally. Kind, funny, authentic and caring people. I’ll be returning in September for a week to see them.
Last year I wandered around Tokyo Japan for about a week. I loved seeing the skyline, the beautiful parks and taking the Tokyo Met Subway. I also rode the Bullet Train to Hiroshima. But before that, it was those days of wandering the city. Sometimes a brilliant skyscraper village other times this.
So many different looks to that city.
So I have tried to use Instagram a few times but I tend to get frustrated with it. Its not really meant to be a photo sharing site at all I don’t think. Its really a microblogging site which has photography sharing. So for a time I used primarily the blog and Mastodon to share photographs of things. Then I happened upon a passing conversation on twitter about Trover. Those folks did not want to use it because I think they want something to gauge followers as a method of engagement so they can up their social media creds. Anyways, Trover sounded very interesting because what its about is travel and photography and that’s it. People share photographs. You can comment on them. You can follow others, create lists and then meet photographers or travelers with your interests or those that diverge completely. Its not about putting photographs up that are those instagram moments and there are no stars or giants. There are just photographers who share moments of travel. Trover calls them discoveries. You can instantly find other discoveries because of its excellent discovery stuff. You can follow people easily and you get notified when people like your work or comment on it. That’s it. No social media engagement, no instagram stars, no idiotic interface with no desktop application. Trover is simpler and kinder to me with a web application that works to upload photographs and a nice IOS app which does the same. It can also upload to Facebook and Twitter if you allow it. It basically can become the hub of photo sharing and let you share your travels from the hub. You only upload to a service a single time to share and it works!
For me, its far beyond what instagram could do or would do. I’ve found this thing I wanted which was to share photographs with other travelers, see their places and then they see my places. That’s it. No one counts followers like on twitter. No one complains about engagement levels. Its just photography sharing without the frills and stupidity. Its made me feel good about finding services out there that just work.
Transition to a few things of today…
So from that, I return to sharing on the blog which I love to do. The blog is a great central medium for sharing of images and discussing hopefully deeper and better things than the clickbait 5 things I did in Ho Chi Minh or the itinerary for 10 days in Stockholm. I want to create more value of what life is like; the goods and bads. Its not about doing so many things or visiting so many continents, countries, cities, and UNESCO sites. Its about finding one continent I could be happy in, with countries that amaze, cities that astound, and heritage sites which keep me coming back for more. Southeast Asia has become a home to me but not just some tiny corner of it. I want it all. And when I feel the need to head back to Malaysia or Singapore or Vietnam or even farther, its all possible. So, without further discussion, a few things that today brought my way.
Explaining a few of the things. The first picture is of the clock tower of Ben Thanh Market. Its the public market where most tourists and backpackers will shop, eat, and bargain at. Next is the central square where the statue of Ho Chi Minh, the people’s committee offices in stately French colonial buildings, and the beautiful and rather interesting twin Vincom Towers.
The Riverside Hotel is a beautiful building right along the Saigon river and then you see some pictures of the river as it flows down the city and finally two buildings that just captured my eye and I don’t recall where I took them.
Summing it all up…
Its also the end of my second week so I am moving into my last week here in HCMC. I will explore the city every day, take my morning coffees at a coffee stand or bakery, walk the steps and see the sights. HCMC does not ever disappoint in those endeavors. Now that I found something of value to share my photographic moments I can let some strange desire to use instagram fade away.
In a week, I am off to Can Tho for a week and then will fly to Phu Quoc Island for a week. Vietnam is also ticking by. 2019 has been an interesting wandering year for me but I think 2020 is gonna be different. I leave in October for Taiwan and then the Philippines and then back to the USofA for a short visit. Then the real adventure kicks in. More on that later :-).
Like reflections, a lonely bicycle, Fujifilm Ad for the X-T30, and some YOLO going. We are having beautiful weather here each day. Its been wonderful weather for city explorations and walking here. Cooler mornings, days warm up nice and no rain lately. Just gorgeous!
I’m also moving some of my photo sharing to the Trover app which focuses on travel photography. I think its something I wanted that Instagram never could give me. There is community, groups, photography, and lots of people sharing.
I noticed the other day that the Type C power cable to my Macbook was looking pretty bad. The plastic outside had worn completely away showing the wires underneath. I think that this particular charger and cable was about a year old and been through repeated packing, using, twisting, etc. I decided first off after a leisurely breakfast and talking with the very nice front desk woman to find an Apple reseller close by or not so close by to replace the cable. If I were to replace the whole thing, if I remember right it was over $100 in Vietnam a year ago. This time though, it was just the cable.
So off I went to the Apple reseller I found to buy the new power cable. I took the old cable as well just in case there was a language issue but the nice young guy there understood immediately and showed me the 2 meter cables which come in at about $35. I had decided to not buy a cheaper type C cable here because I am never quite sure what it is I get from some of the stores. In Cambodia, I will only shop at a few electronics stores like the UFOstore because they sell quality gear and back it up at any of the stores. I bought a lightning cable in Siem Reap and they assured me if I had problems I could take it into the store down the riverside in Phnom Penh. I keep those kinds of receipts always.
Anyways, after getting that done, I decided to explore a different area of Saigon. I am not sure if I walked there before. So off I went and I managed to see a few interesting things along the way.
Just to set the stage, I walked through a park and happened to meet this mom, daughter, and younger daughter picnicking in this park. The mom waved and said hello and then her older daughter that spoke better english came over smiling. The mom did not want her picture taken at first but we agreed if I visited for awhile I would be able to take a photograph of them all. The older daughter understood it all and was smiling even more. The young girl was busy trying to master food containers. Here is that image and a few more from the day spent doing absolutely nothing again besides having fun.
All in all, a fun day with some minimal things to get done, interspersed with a nice walk and the very friendly Vietnamese people I always seem to meet. I had a quick lunch at a Lotteria fast food place and then walked on back to the hotel.
All of the images are taken with the prime lens still. The lens is very easy to just leave on the X-T30 camera. I don’t think I have swapped it out for the 18-55mm kit lens yet. Its that easy and fun to shoot with plus auto-focus is a dream and image quality is nice. The aperture ring also has the clicks to it instead of a soft aperture ring that does not show the F stops like on the kit lens. I do think that the F2 35mm lens is a great prime lens for all around use around a city, taking photographs of buildings, people, things. It also is an out of the way and somewhat unobtrusive lens much like the rest of the camera when compared to some Nikon or Canon monster camera. If you are a beginner or just wanna take images and not futz or fuss with them, I really think the FujiFilm X-T30 is a great choice. Price point, quality, size and weight. Great little travel camera!
Ho Chi Minh City is one of the best cities to wander in. You can see so many different skylines, the mixes of old and new, wonderful people that like to have their pictures taken, children waving and saying hello, and just the differences as you go step by step. This visit has not been about seeing the tourist or other sights. Instead I just pick some direction each day and perhaps wander there with the camera. The city is so big one can never exhaust the looks and feels. Then there is the stop for lunch or a iced coffee or just a smoothie.
Wonderful today! And here is what I saw. I hope you get to see that HCMC is full of so much variation and its worthy of a longer stop than mere days.
Again today was a day of exploring with the prime lens on the X-T30 camera. Shooting anywhere from F5.6 to F8 with a variety of the film simulations.
Nice day out with a very expressive set of clouds that careened around the sky that you can see in a few of the images. The black and white photograph is with Acros+Red. I have always loved its edge and punch and contrast!