Museum Closed, Beer Hall Available, Lets drink!

A humorous thing happened on the way to the Revolutionary History Museum today. Perhaps I should have checked their open and closed hours but it ended up being closed on Mondays. Anyways, I walked the long way around to get there and now I don’t think I will make it unless I go on Wednesday. Tomorrow I’m set to go to Chinatown. Going to either ride the bus or take a cab depending on my laziness. I don’t really care what it costs to get there so I may do a cab. Once I get there I plan on spending the day and then getting back via a cab.

I ended up in a Beer Pub today drinking for a few hours and felt pretty good when I left. I had three large Tiger Draught Ales and kinda stumbled back to my homestay and the host was laughing. Now its raining again. I stopped before when it rained and camped out at this building that was closed along with a few Vietnamese guys and gals. We laughed a bit about the rain as they waited too. The rain here comes in pieces. It will rain for about 30 minutes and then the sky lightens up but you can tell when its gonna pour down like I’ve mentioned before. The wind picks up, the sky gets dark, temperatures drop. If you watch the local folks they are covering up and anticipating the rain. But then it ends after 30 minutes or so. Today I just stopped at a beer hall and drank my way to happiness and somewhat inebriation. I don’t do that often but when I do, everything suddenly looks better. Of course the waiters were very attuned to insuring I had sufficient beer as well. If there is one thing about the Vietnamese, they like to drink. If there is another thing, they like to eat! They also like to socialize in coffee shops.

I spent the morning at one my favorite coffee shops and really love the place and since I have been going there regularly they offered me a loyalty card where I get so much off after so many visits. Unfortunately, I am leaving on Thursday so I don’t know I will go back there again. Their latte and sandwiches, fresh bread specialities like banana bread is superb. I will miss their attention to detail!

No real pictures to share or other thoughts besides still having a bit of a beer buzz on. It feels pretty good so I may walk over and get a few more beers after dinner tonight if the rain stops for a bit. I happen to like drinking beer and I’ve not done it in awhile.

Here’s another thought. Have you ever decided to go through your facebook friends and get rid of some of the people that somehow became friends? I did that today and dropped a few. I read some of their wall posts and I did not like them. I unfollowed one and dropped the rest. I guess the other thing, and perhaps its the beer talking, is that I don’t take FB seriously at all. Its just a place to find real friends which are the vast majority of people I have friended up with. If you are a virtual friend, I may drop you at a whim. Mean? Yeah. I know. Such is the way of it though.

Tomorrow is Chinatown and then perhaps will try again on Wednesday for the museum. Time is running out though. I need to have Wednesday afternoon to get to an ATM machine and get some money. I am pretty careful with that part of things and will not withdraw cash at night or in places that seem strange. So off I will go to Vincom Centre on Wednesday and use their ATM. I have to take the money out twice because of limits on debit card transactions. I’ll be ready to come back after that and pack up my stuff for the bus ride on Thursday to Da Lat.

I’ll have a few thoughts Wednesday on leaving HCMC. Its been a blast here living in a homestay and walking the city. Here’s something of an update since I was correcting some of the beer edits and words from earlier. Tonight at dinner I met two Chinese tourists just graduated as school teachers. Both were so charming and fun to talk to. We discussed their visiting Vietnam, politics at a global level, and how much they were anticipating getting back to teach. I found them very vital and interesting people with a pretty good command of english and it was fun to meet people from yet another place while staying at the homestay here. We discussed many topics and also enjoyed a great dinner together that our host provided!

So much fun to meet others in a communal setting like the homestay and sharing a home cooked meal with them!

Well, that’s my update of updates!

Three Days left and Two things to do – will this Mike do it?

Its raining right now here in Ho Chi Minh City. I just got back from a day of wandering around in no set direction with the camera doing what I basically love to do which is taking frames and then sharing with all of you fine people. As I lay here on the bed in the homestay, the rain is really coming down now but I bet it will be done in about 30 minutes. I may walk out tonight and get a few beers and bring back. There is a friendly Circle K about 200m from my homestay.

I basically have two things left to do and three days to do them. I decided to get to one additional museum called the Revolutionary History Museum which is a walk away and then I will go to Chinatown. I am not clear on what day for what. Perhaps tomorrow some clarity will come over morning coffee.

Now the rain has stopped so its time to share a few photographs. I hate sharing when its raining outside. All my stuff gets virtually wet :-).

I don’t have any running narrative for these few photographs. Just take them as y0u will as the evidence of a person that turns left, right, and repeats it over and over again. I will say that this city is so very welcoming to this old retired guy and his camera. I get so many “hellos’ and smiles. By the end of the day though, my legs are tired. I guess because I am old and I cannot do the 20 miles or 30k steps per day and really have no desire to.

Here, in no particular order and with no more diversions are a few things I saw today. Get your popcorn and cold beer ready!

And if that’s not mysterious enough, here is the second one. Vrooom! Ready for a ride?

Finally just perhaps to show you how beautiful the city streets are here. This is a block I was walking down and these streets always grab my fancy. Its not isolated in this city folks. I see city blocks of quiet beauty most turns I take.

Now to a few serious things. It seems to me walking each day that thoughts propel themselves through and often come with little or no warning. I stop for the 1.5 liter bottle of water and the break sitting on the street corner and even more things come unbidden to me. Its like a thought factory opens up and launches never ending streams of fragmented things which I sometimes note down in Ulysses to think about later or to write a journal post or a blog post about.

Often times the things become this blog post but I have a little workflow in Ulysses that lets me work on the things, perhaps define them a bit more, and then on my iPhone I start seeing where they should go. I developed this awhile ago where I have an inbox which leads to stuff to do and then ideas which are developed into stories. A story can be a blog post, longer static content that perhaps on a down day or when I feel like developing it will become thing else, or its personal and private and it moves into my journal.

I have to say that Ulysses is the best app I have found on the Apple ecosystem for this kind of thing. There are others like byword and you can use Google Docs for it as well depending on your platform of choice. To me, the one app that holds diaries, notes, blogposts, workflows is just so good! It also holds travel notes and I attach PDF files and images to my travel plans. I used to use Tripit but I prefer to have the notes in freeform or markup so I can export when I want to PDF or whatever.

Is there a tool you use that’s your baseline, your must have? For me its Ulysses on the Mac and my iPhone. I’d be lost without it. This blogpost started being formed as I walked today but I did not capture it. Sometimes the ideas come fast and furious and Ulysses gets tapped into on my water break or when I stop for ice cream or beer.

Do you work, travel, record like this? Do you have a central repository where you keep everything? A central tool? Others use a set of integrated tools like Day One for journals, Byword for writing, perhaps something else for travel planning. I tried this before. I much prefer the one home for the creation and management of ideas, text, writing, recording of things.

Your thoughts?

Ben Thanh Market, District One HCMC, and some street art! What a bargain for you!!

The last weekend in Ho Chi Minh City prompted my desire to not wander far. That, and the weather seemed to be ready to get a good rain going. Here’s what it does here though and you can tell when its gonna rain. It clouds up first. Then the wind picks up a bit and things get dark. You start seeing rain drops often ahead of you. Then it either really starts with a torrential downpour or it just stops and the sky gets all clear and pretty again. Today it decided to do the first thing so I was kinda glad to not be wandering farther away.

I also went to the Ben Thanh Market which may be the best known market in Vietnam. You can find just about anything you may want. I wanted a leather money clip because I don’t carry my wallet when I go out for the day. I found one in about 10 minutes and spent 5 minutes in a good natured haggle with the shop owner. We reached a point and both were laughing so I told her she won and I got the money clip. Its a handy device on the road because you can more easily carry a daily allowance of cash in your front pocket and not be concerned with it too much.

My final place to get to is China Town which I will do either tomorrow or Monday. I have 4 days and there is a museum I could do as well one of the days. Wednesday I have to make ready to leave Thursday morning early on the bus to Da Lat so I will be packing and going through my stuff.

Luggage Thoughts

I still have the Tortuga Outbreaker 45L backpack but I also have a North Face (fake but works good for me) duffel. The duffel is good for shorter trips since it fits in the overhead or even under the seat. The Outbreaker is also carry on. I’ll get rid of the duffel when I go to Cambodia and travel only with the Outbreaker and the daypack as a personal item. The duffel cost all of $15 USD after haggling for it for awhile in Hanoi.

I think the Outbreaker is a great choice for travel since it does not pack top down and opens like a suitcase. I never liked the packs that pack top down and prefer to have everything easily reachable for either short or long term stays.

Next Stop is Da Lat

Da Lat is my final longer stay place in Vietnam. I wanted to change things up and had originally planned on spending longer here in HCMC. I feel though I have done what I set out to do here and tromped across the city and captured it via the camera so now will go to Da Lat. I have two side trips planned from Da Lat to Nha Trang and another beach place. Each of those lasts 4 days I take a bus there and back.

So now that my time is wrapping up here and I don’t have a whole bunch of destinations left I want to do, I can just wander around with the camera and do what I really like doing. I like just exploring and capturing what I see with the camera. Today I saw a few things and took lesser photographs. I’ll be sharing out the final album for my 30 days here soon and its been a lot of fun walking the city and capturing what I think are the daily highlights. Here are a few pictures from today.

This was some street art I saw walking around District 1 today. Th0ought it was pretty cool!

I liked how this image was framed by the flowers. I took this by Ho Chi Minh Square.

Life has been pretty good of late here in HCMC. Ive enjoyed the homestay experience immensely and my host is a very nice person plus a really good cook who insists on filling my plate up with rice and veggies and food twice. I think if you come to Vietnam you should check out the homestay experience. It really lets you get to a personal level with a family, see how they work and live each day, and also have some really good food. I paid $360 for the month and got all my meals, my laundry, free bottled water and just the family part of things. Really made things nice!

Wandering City Streets here – the things I saw

A week left in the beautiful Ho Chi Minh City. I have a few destinations to still do and some days to get them done. I’m going to get over to Chinatown one of these days on the bus and am also going to get one more museum. I don’t have a bunch of other stuff so I will continue exploring the city each day with no real goals since I seem to do better that way with finding random things to capture on the camera.

It was good today out. It seemed that today had to be one of the most beautiful days we have had yet here. I got out this morning for some classic Vietnamese coffee and a croissant and plotted and dreamed and figured out a way to go. It never really matters if I have been close the same way before. Everything is new to the lens of the camera and I am still practicing with different types of photography to figure out my style. I believe what comes the closest is a mix of street and urban photography but its pretty free flowing all in all.

Here are a few frames from today’s fun travels for you to check out.

This shot was in black and white use the Acros + Red custom film simulation on the camera. I love the richness of black and white photography and the Acros simulation is so rich and deep!

I like urban and city things I happen across. Not looking for a lot of context. More things to capture as I walk!

Just a Pho place!

I also saw this raptor today!

Pretty cool! I am not sure what the story was since it was sitting out on the street but look at the size of that bird!

I’ll be more focusing on street photography next few outings since there is so much to capture of every day life type things here. All in all, a great day for wandering and doing what I like! Getting lost and taking photographs.

Take care you all!

The many skylines of Ho Chi Minh City – a small tour

I thought you all may enjoy what the skylines look like here from a few vantage points. I did visit a museum also today but photography was difficult and it would have gotten in the way of actually seeing the amazing historic artifacts. I’ll wrap things up in the post with some thoughts about the Museum of History here in HCMC.

Here in a montage is the city for your enjoyment.

You can see that the sky was kinda threatening looking today as I ventured around the city. It rained a few times this morning but the rain here is interesting. It will rain heavily for about 30 minutes and then stops for some time. Usually I have enough time to get to a place for ice cream or a beer and then it starts up again. Now its raining again and I just got back to the homestay. Cool timing!

Museum Notes

I went to the Museum of History today and really enjoyed it. It covers from the prehistoric to historic periods really well and the artifacts are amazing! I guess being a past archeologist, I really like to see the stone working and carving the most but the ceramics were just beautiful too. The rooms were darkly lit but light played across each artifact so it created an interesting view but hard to take photographs of. I don’t think they favor cameras there so I just stopped. I think that this is one of the must see museums if you come here. Its easy to get to and the hours are like other museums and historic sites. They open until 1130am and then are closed until 130pm for lunch break. then they are back open again to 5pm or 6pm.

I would say that if you are a history buff and want to get around here you have to see the Independence Palace, the City Museum, the War Remnants Museum, and the the Museum of History. They are all located kind of close to each other so you could do this in a few days. I like to spread the museum visits out a bit so I enjoy them more.

Other things, thoughts, ideas or whatever

I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about solo travel or vagabonding. Since I decry the term travel I will say “Solo Vagabonding” instead. I’ve read a lot of blogs from people wanting to try it, asking questions about it, wanting a way to find out if its for them. I think a bit about it since I’m doing that and its come to me there are no yardsticks for it. You could do 10 test trips in Europe or the United States and come to Asia and it may not work for you. Things are just so different here. There is no way to know if you are gonna be good at it. But lets be honest here. If you are by yourself, who are you worried about impressing, making happy, etc? What do you think the biggest challenge is for solo travel or vagabonding? Could you do it for the rest of your life? If you found yourself able to chuck it all behind and leave forever; could you do it? Lets just say that all barriers were removed and those were financial, family, organizational, functional, technological and you were given the opportunity to leave but it had to be by yourself. Could you do it and never come back?

What do you think would be your obstacles and what would you gain? Forget about being lonely or having a downer day once in awhile. I have those. Some ice cream and a beer and a crowded mall often work. This is more basic. Could you do it? And if you could would you?

New Directions in Wandering in Ho Chi Minh City!

Prior to going out for the day, I was sitting downstairs at the homestay when Grace came in. Grace is the daughter-in-law I believe and she’s good with the English and loves to talk. She told me about her busy weeks working at two jobs and also doing a fitness thing. I told her a bit about my adventures.

I had decided to visit a coffee shop around the corner which has some of the best banana nut bread and service I have found. I sat there for awhile and watched mostly tourists come and go. I always kinda surreptitiously wonder what the people’s lives are like. A young couple came in holding hands. They had nice breakfasts and drinks. They left. Then a family came in with at least three kids, the man, and his wife. I lasted longer and got there before them all. I ordered a second americano and sat longer.

After about an hour of enjoying the atmosphere and elegance of the coffee shop, I started looking at google maps to find how I wanted to get to a new walking area and plotted a basic trip. I had looked at the map for where I wanted to go and it seemed that there was a walking trail by this canal or river and numerous bridges that I should see. I also had never gotten there before walking so really wanted to get there. The walking there ended up being really nice with this beautiful walking trail right by the water that I could follow. Bridges were great and came in old and new. Walking there was low stress. No guys trying to sell rides, no shoe shine guys. Nothing. I did see a few people out and about walking on the walkway but it was pretty quiet and its really kept up well.

I got done with the walking by the water part when I reached one of the bridges and checked google maps. I wanted to visit a park and get some water and rest for a bit so I went in that general direction. The weather was kinda iffy today by any standards and before I got to the Vincom Towers for some ice cream it rained. I took shelter in this closed building alcove where some chairs were left. It rained for about 15 minutes and then I could continue my walk.

Ending at Vincom is always fun since I like Bud’s Ice Cream a lot there and the prices are reasonable. I always sit and look at the frames on my camera and start thinking about what I want to do the next day. Usually its around a different direction of walking or perhaps a museum to see.

So, one of the better days of wandering since I saw something brand new and felt really good doing it. I got back and dinner is right at 630pm and is always interesting in a good way. Then I saw Grace leaving again for work.

The day’s photographs were good today too. Finding a new path and a new thing makes taking photographs that much better. I gotta say that Ho Chi Minh City is no slouch with places to find to practice some city photography or urban type stuff. Its also really good for practicing since none of this is so far I could not get back. The chances are though I will not walk that path again.

Here’s the link to my photo album so y0u can see how beautiful it was today!

Street Wandering and Thoughts on Days of Exploration

I did not really set any goals for myself first day back from the get away. I wanted to try to sleep later which I did and then decided over latte and a Banh Mi sandwich to walk to some bridges and roam around there for awhile.

Ho Chi Minh City is so big and diverse that I probably would never run out of directions or places to walk here. I love cities that have bridges! I remember my first evening in Hiroshima and all the small bridges that cross the city. Its a great connection thing but its also a cultural and geographic continuity for a city I think. Finding even more bridges here than I thought yielded a thing for tomorrow to walk farther north than before and see a part of the city not seen yet. I will probably catch up with the museums Tuesday and Thursday or some other days as long as I get it done before a week from Wednesday.

Homestaying is Nice!

I wanted to put a gentle word out there if you are tempted to try a homestay arrangement if you visit Vietnam. I have been staying with a family here for three weeks and its probably the best I have been fed and the least bothered. They serve me a home cooked Vietnamese dinner every night and the homestay owner insists I have seconds of rice and keeps on filling the veggies and other stuff up on the table. I mentioned I liked ice cream and then the next night we had ice cream for dessert. She’s a sweet person besides being a wonderful cook.

During the days when I wander and take photographs or do whatever, I am usually back by 4pm and she has an ice cold water waiting for me. She also keeps beer in the fridge. At one point we had two other guys here before and they left. Then I went to Vang Tau and two other guys showed up and they have left because they were more wanting to party in the city and stay out. Since this is a family and she has to work early most days, the place gets locked up by 1130 at night. That’s fine with me. I don’t have any desire to go out here at night. I’ve usually walked like 15k steps and am wanting an evening watching a movie on TV or a youtube movie and reading. I never did different in hotels either.

So, my pitch is if you want to experience a different type of staying in Vietnam, find a homestay and give it a shot. I am paying $360 US for a month and I get my laundry done, get all the food I could possibly want, can have beer, and she keeps ice cold water waiting all the time. Its a nice way to stay and see things a bit differently.

Days of Exploration 

Its interesting that I kinda lose sight of whether a day is a weekend or weekday sometimes. When I am in city exploration mode and not taking side trips, the days slide by and each day is a reward and fun and exploration. I could see the same street twice or ten times. It does not matter. I am not after the uniqueness. I am after seeing the city and the people and how both intersect.

The days of exploration have no real boundaries or decisions. Its just my feet and the camera and stopping at some point at a Circle K or 7/11 or other convenience store and getting water. Then the day stops for a bit and I can sit and watch a different set of things. Now I am still and the people are passing me by. Many is the time I get a “Hello” from someone or smiles and waves here from a variety of people. It makes the days when I explore more interesting.

I’ve also walked the Hems or alleys here and in Hanoi and those experiences are even more different. Those side streets and alleys have this character and vibrancy. I remember seeing it in Japan too.

So my second kinda sorta “ask” is for you to walk those places too. See the alleys and the small streets as these connectors of life. They are not just a pathway between big streets. They are often filled with smaller businesses, school children heading to or back from school, older people that smile and want their photo taken. You find a different day of exploration and its good!

Try it out where your shoes take you. Also try disengaging the mind that seems wanting to do direction and GPS. You don’t need that. Get lost completely and the city will open its mysterious arms to you and welcome you as a true urban explorer.

Now I hear thunder and Ho Chi Minh City will get some rain I think. The explorations are over but the writing and thinking are not. If you are on the road, do something different. There’s a risk and reward in it. Like most things of value both are usuallyintegrated.

Back to Ho Chi Minh City – reflections and thoughts

My last day was a transit type of day. I had some breakfast along with a few other Austrlian expats at the same place as yesterday and then relaxed for a bit in the room. I had to check out at noon so had them call a cab for me and went to the Ferry dock and had some Vietnamese coffee there and waited.

The ride back was a little over 2 hours and it was smoother than the ride going so no evident signs of sea sickness. I have to admit to feeling happy to get back to Ho Chi Minh City. I thought a lot about the expatriate population and how just about everyone down my street and in all the hotels were expatriates. It was hard to find local cuisine since all the places seemed to cater to the expats. I think the location I was in is one of the community centers.

Now that I’m back, I have less than 2 weeks left here and some things to do. I’ll be heading back out tomorrow to walk the city and take photographs. I may walk down to the Saigon riverwalk area and go the opposite way and see what I can see.

I also set a few dates for things so I don’t miss them as the time ticks down. I must get to Chinatown this next week and I think that will be a full day. I also must get over to the museum of history which is a good walk from here. Both of those are day long events since the Chinatown area is huge and I will want to see all I can by walking. The museum has an area beyond it I want to see so I will go exploring there as well.

As I traveled back, I was thinking quite a bit about solo wandering. I guess because seeing all the expats in Vung Tau made me realize there are so many ways of doing things. People see the world and turn on all different realities. There are those on the limited tour type trips. The longer stay people. The RTW people. The gap year or reset people. I’ve been reading a few blogs of the different types. Its healthy I think to question the steps I take and what I expect out of them. I could just leave Vietnam and then take another year long tourist visa and come back and live for up to a year and leave on visa runs every 90 days. I’m sure a lot of people do that. But there is nothing compelling for me in that. I would just settle down in a place and hang up the wandering shoes. I believe in what I’m doing and the pace at which I’m doing it. I have this basic plan of things and places. Some random but I have to say there are things that are not. I have specific dates for things. I have to leave Vietnam by 16 September. My visa runs out then. I will want to go by then. Cambodia calls for a year. I know without ever being there I want a lot of time in Cambodia. I want it to be a home base for me to support other travels into next year. It has the basic stuff I need and prices are reasonable.

So I pretty much knew I could never be an expatriate and find a place to settle in and call it home. I have to wander the roads and walk them and take pictures and prove out my lifestyle. I waited too long for all this to simply take one of the lifestyles and call it quits. I cannot see a year from now but I do know that I will be still moving slowly but through Cambodia or perhaps in Laos or Thailand or even flying on to India.

So all this reflecting stuff kept me busy on the 2 hour catamaran ride. I realized that solo travel is not for everyone. Its okay to have doubts and question things. I have realized though that there is nothing for me in the states either. No home, car, job, people that really care if I am there or not. Children grown, friends moving to their beats of life. I don’t want work any more. That tank is empty. So I know that this kind of travel is the best for me. The slow movements of months or so in each place. I get to get a sense about the life in a place. Walk the city streets, sit by the beach, drink a coffee or beer. But I know at some discrete moment out there I will leave. That’s okay too.

If you travel and you wonder what its like to go with no end in sight; its a heady thing. Being in Asia is a wonderful thing. Having time to walk and take photographs and see the things leaves me open to question critically the paths. Like today I knew that I would not settle down in some place and heed the siren call. My call is down the street, around the corner. On that bus going to Da Lat for months. If you are on the road, I wish you happiness and sadness. Success and failure. Wonder and disappointment. Most of all don’t lose the questioning. You need polar opposites I think to know the value of the thing you are doing. Its okay to question and have doubts. I do.

Day Two at Vung Tau – Wandering the city streets

This was my one full day of exploration and I could have done the tourist things like the light house or Jesus statue. I did not do those things. Instead I wandered the downtown areas and the small neighborhoods. I wanted to get a full day of walking in here and see how people live here. I started at what is called the Front Beach which is less of a tourist thing and more industrial. The beach is not so clean and has a lot of rocks and less sandy beach area but people still come and walk by the beach walkways. Its almost opposite in Vung Tau from the Back Beach that I went to yesterday.

Its pretty easy to get around here walking. The streets are pretty nice but not many people. Not many besides Australian and New Zealand expats. I was totally amazed at the number of expats here living. I am guessing they spend six months at a time here and then fly out to clear their Visas and then start it all over again. I thought through how it would be to simply stop traveling in Vung Tau. While I like it here, I think I’m more of a vagabonder than someone wanting a place to stop. I just want to go slower. Vung Tau would be fun to stay awhile but I don’t see a compelling thing. I would be leaving to go to Ho Chi Minh City or Danang or other places because I like to explore big cities. One of the expats told me they fully expect to meet expat ladies here as well during their stays or find local women. I did see a few expat women while out and about. Its an interesting cross section of people. There are the older retired expat types that are staying here longer. There are the younger backpacker types that are traveling through and may have biked or taken the ferry here for awhile. I think there are also those that have found a Vietnamese lady or  man to have a longer term relationship with. I think if people are happy with a choice they make to stay here its all good! I like this place. But I have other places to get to. Stopping here would not work for me at all. I just want the slower pace so I can see places like Vung Tau and wonder over the people I see on a few days here.

Only day for wandering…

This was my only day here so I wanted to do a full day of walking my own way and see the other Vung Tau. I doubt I would come back again here. Its a way station for me on a long, slow wandering. I’ll leave tomorrow for the city and get back to a week and days of seeing Ho Chi Minh City.

My photo album was updated with the day’s wandering. Here’s the link again if you want to see the city and the beaches.

Now I’m back in my room and relaxing. Legs are tired and that’s good. Its early afternoon and it dawned on me walking today that giving myself permission to simply stop has been one of the hardest things to get done. I sometimes find myself pushing to see the next road or visit the next pagoda or take the tour. Its against the metric for my wandering though and its been tough coming to grips with it. I don’t think I have yet come to grips with the ability to say “mañana” to things or not push a bit.

Tomorrow I’ll catch the ferry back at 2pm and get back to the homestay for another week and days. More things there to go see. More places to report on!

Thanks for reading. I hope you find a thing of value but if you don’t I’m okay with that too 🙂

Vung Tau – Day 1 the Ferry Ride and a bit of wandering

This was the travel day if you can call it that from Ho Chi Minh City to Vung Tau. What this encompasses is riding a water ferry along the Saigon River and then out on the ocean to the Vung Tau. The water ferry is a very modern vessel which skims along pretty well. The first part of the journey was calm but when the ocean waters mix with the river, the whole thing gets frisky so it turns into more of a ride. A few of the kids got sea sickness and others were yelling and screaming with excitement and parents were laughing. It was just fun to see how the river and the port and boating all meet on the river. I had no real idea how big and sprawled out the city is. It seems to go on for quite some time and there is a lot of building going on.

So after two hours, we arrived at Vung Tau and I hopped a cab and came over to the hotel. The front desk manager was one of the nicest and funniest people who insisted on telling me about her experience trying to get a Visa for the US. She tried five times to visit and was turned down or delayed.

After checking out the room and relaxing for a bit and discovering that the wifi is very nice I decided I needed to see the Back Beach area and do this big loop around the city which looked pretty good to walk.

The Back Beach is quite pretty and while it looked like it might rain for awhile, skies cleared and it turned into a nice day for the beach goers. The path I decided to do was a really nice walkway all the way around this big loop and it brought me back almost to my hotel.

The city area is going through some growth and there are more hotels perhaps as the tourist business grows here. I kinda liked it today. There were no shoe shine boys, only a few scooters wanting to take me places, and no cyclo’s.

Reasons for Going…

The main reason for going is not being tired of Ho Chi Minh City but instead it seemed like the ideal getaway that I could do on a water ferry for really reasonable rates and then also stay somewhere different, do some different walks, and take some different pictures of things.

I will be doing those things through Saturday and then I head back to Ho Chi Minh City on the ferry and have about 1.5 weeks left before going to Da Lat.

Instead of sharing a few individual pictures, here’s the album I started to record my travels here. I’ll be updating that album for the next few days with my photographs from Vung Tau. The album has some shots from the water ferry trip as well as my wandering here today.