Personal Project – Record the Streets of Hanoi. A Report

Since I arrived in Hanoi on 16 March, I’ve been doing a personal project to capture the streets of Hanoi with my camera. There are no real rules to the play and work except for these:

  1. Walk at least 12000 steps each day
  2. Photograph whatever I happen to see with my Fuji X Series camera
  3. Purposefully do not record the locations

The idea of the project is to be a visual undertaking of sets of walks in a variety of directions. The streets of Hanoi are full of change, people, cars, scooters, and activity. Hanoi is a dynamic city of old quarter, French quarter, West Lake, Long Bien. It goes on and on.

I’ll be continuing the project until 14 June when I leave Hanoi. At that point I’ll publish a blogpost with all the photo albums linked here and perhaps people will get a sense of just what a great city, how random it is, the places that can be seen by simply walking. Hanoi is a relatively safe city as long as you do common sense things. People may say that the traffic seems crazy but the reality is that there is a flow to it and you have to be part of it. There is a dynamism of the people and the businesses. Stately old buildings and consular offices. Government buildings. The beautiful parks and monuments around the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. All of it can be walked to from most locations in the city.

I don’t know that will I continue to do the same project in Ho Chi Minh City but I will be walking with the camera each day recording things. I also publish separate photo albums for the cities and tours I do to separate them and more easily share with friends and family, twitter, Facebook, Google Plus. If you do use Google Plus I publish a collection of photos there that I update because its the easiest way I know to share photos.

I’ve taken over 1000 photos of Hanoi itself that I save off to Google Photos. Thank goodness its free! My photographs are done simply with no post processing, no RAW files, etc. I don’t have strong views on post processing of photos using Lightroom or Photoshop. If that’s your boat, float in it. I much prefer to use what Fuji gave me and make mistakes, try correcting them and immediately share the JPEG files. I may not be a photographer and I’m okay with that. What I am is a person that enjoys doing the act of it. The learning of it. But I really like the outcome and being to have a record of things.

The project recording the sights and sounds of Hanoi has been a lot of fun and its meant that my contributing goal of walking over 12k steps a day has been fully realized. I checked the pedometer app history and I have walked over 12k steps for 30 days in a row. That means I have also taken photographs with the FujiFilm X100F those same days.

Some good, some over exposed and under. Its all grist for the mill. I have been to some places numerous times and I still find new things, new views, new endeavors to record.

I would ask you all. What is it you expect to gain doing photography when you travel? Is it a record of the things you have seen or perhaps more of a personal reflection. Maybe you don’t share photographs at all. None is right or wrong except when you get involved at a level that it stops being fun and learning. Then it becomes some plodding duty and you feel that the effort is not worth the outcome.

I’ll be sharing the Hanoi albums in the next three weeks when I leave here.  I will really miss Hanoi. I’ve met people here that either I have typed my name into their Facebook account, met Vietnamese friends at restaurants and coffee shops and helping them practice English. Its all been good.

One final note with some sadness. My friend Mikka Luster has stopped maintaining his blog which was one of the few away from the wordpress.com community I liked to read. For a lot of reasons. His abilities at putting words next to each other, lovely photography, and the mix of introspection along with long hikes and reviews of tech will be missed. Thanks Mikka for the blog. I hope you can find a way to continue writing.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

Travel Planning – a conceptual workflow and two resources to consider

I made my way back to Hanoi today. Vietnam Airlines is pretty nice and they make a really good attempt to leave and arrive on time. We did today. We left right at 1145am from Danang and got back at 1245 to Hanoi.

What I wanted to do is discuss two primary methods for reserving rooms either long stay or shorter. I use both and have found that sometimes one will offer a room while the other won’t so using both is no harm no foul. Here are the two and some notes to consider:

  1. Agoda. Agoda is a very nice travel application which lets you book hostels, hotels, and apartments as you need. The website works very well but the apps are nice too. I use the IOS app on my iPhone and it works very well to search, reserve, modify, or cancel reservations. The listings are really good for Asia and I have had really good luck for rooms in Japan, Vietnam, and Cambodia. The nice thing about the service I think is the booking section and how it will alert you if you have booked for the same period twice. It will also try to use your calendar to get your reservations. I have found that this does not work so well with google calendar at times. The filter and search capabilities are very nice with this service. I have not seen where you can save search criteria. This would be nice if you had the same dollar amount or room size or other particulars to apply across searches.
  2. Booking.com. This is the second one and I have really been using it a lot for travel lately. It lets you see a view of rooms and the logic flow on how the rooms are priced, what size they are, how many beds, etc is really nice. This service does not have a savable search criteria either. I have found that the information presented on booking.com is very accurate and I will be able to find a vast variety of rooms and also look at their locations. You can refine the search and apply it. Change the dates and the service flows with the changes very well.

I think personally, either of these services will let you be able to accurately book rooms and also compare between the two and both have gazillions of offerings and let you adjust the logic of when and where on the fly. I found both of these to be particularly relevant for my particular use which is wanting longer stay rooms primarily. I am able to book up to 30 nights on either but an email to the owner through the app will let you discuss your needs further.

Now for some apps I use but not for booking travel much any more. I do not use Expedia since I left the states and I only use TripAdvisor to look at attractions, things I may want to do, and to do reviews. I think doing reviews allows one to engage in community discussion and I’ve acted on reviews a few times to either book or change my bookings. On TripAdvisor all I really see are bookings using the two services above so what’s the real point when I can just go to the sites.

The final point are the mobile apps for either. I found both to be fully representative of the types of services you may want on the go. Sitting in an airport lounge, on a bus, in a busy coffee shop. You want to be able to see your bookings, adjust them, delete them. Having the websites side by side in chrome tabs on my MacBook is very handy.

The final thing is saving all those pesky emails that confirm your travel, air, bus, ferry timings. Do you do this? I have a workflow for this using Ulysses where I create sheets or notes that capture the details or copy and paste them but I also export them as PDF or image files and attach them to the sheet for the place I am going. This lets me have a working set of information I can quickly get to in Ulysses to review the timing without launching a website.

How do you do this? Do you have a central repository or workflow? Use Gmail labels or folders for things? I do both but the workflow has been a lifesaver a few times for me. I can quickly see the details of a trip and was able to find issues with overlapping rooms that I then fixed on either Agoda or booking.com.

Using sites like this to plan accommodation has been a lifesaver for me. I really like both of them and will compare and contrast their offerings and often change from one to the other if I see something good. I think if I traveled more frequently like shorter duration stays, I would come up with something else. I used to use TripIt to consolidate the travel but I cannot see why I should buy into another app when I can use Ulysses to consolidate the information. Ulysses really is my information manager and I am still creating workflows for ideas and concepts, stories, blogposts, and journal entries. I am drawing these out in Mindnode which lets me see the connection points better than flat notes. Then I can create the workflow like I did for the travel.

This all works pretty well for me but may not for you at all.

Life on the Road – The Vagabond Plan

The forever traveler is a strange thing to explain to people. I was in a restaurant in Hanoi with two tourists from Australia. They had 3 days in Hanoi and were wanting a “short list” of what to see. With only three days its difficult to suggest anything beyond the old quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, maybe the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Then there’s restaurants. Hanoi is just full of places to go eat and trying to suggest about 9 meals worth is difficult. I ended up picking places that I thought they would like.

But the real thing is the difference. I’m limited in time here in Hoi An but I don’t turn around and fly back home. Instead I just go back to my home in Hanoi for the next 3 weeks. I still have another shorter trip to Hue to do in about 1.5 weeks. I’ll go back to the airport and fly down to Hue and see historic sites, temples, and a bunch of other stuff. I may end up taking a day tour because it will let me see the majority of things and the cost is reasonable. When I get back will go to the Sinhtourist office and get the nice lady that helps me with directions and buses in Hanoi to help me with the Hue tour I want.

I guess after thinking about it and writing in my journal today, there is a profound difference in traveling when you know you are heading back in X weeks and when you are not. I have nowhere to go back to. Nothing left in the states that requires my attention. Children are adults for the most part. I have thought more than a few times that now its my time and turn. I went through the Hell years of divorce and debt and anger.

What is the travel like though when its not travel? Travel seems to have a start and finish. I equate the word to business travel. Where the business says you have to be at a place X for Y time. You go. There is no flexibility. I only really had flexibility at Celestix when I could take side trips but even then things are limited because I knew I had to be in Singapore and Chennai India. Things were going on and needed my attention. That is business travel in a nutshell. Things going on that need your attention.

So I explained to the two women that this is not travel. I purposefully picked countries in Asia with very flexible and cheap travel and with visas that were easy to get. My six month multiple entry tourist Visa for Vietnam only says that I must leave by 16 June. So off I go to Hong Kong on 14 June and get back on the 17th of June. Ready for my last three months or so. Its not travel though. Its most like vagabonding or the art of going here and there with no real responsibility or requirement.

Perhaps I finally gained it after those years of waiting. It still surprises me that it arrived and I caught myself at the bar in Hoi An this evening considering it. Now I sit as the eternal solo traveler that I am and am happy. I’ve finally found that answer to the questions that perplexed me all those years. The ones like could I or would I or should I? The answer is yes. Or I should say YES!

And its not hard to do. You don’t need a fortune to live a great life in Vietnam. Its different of course but you can find the services and support you need. Some of them just make more sense. Cell phone data service just makes more sense. Getting laundry done for $3.00 a week is another no brainer. Learning how to find the things I need in the IntiMex center is easy too.

I guess what I’m getting around to is that you too can be a hobo. Maybe you can find the ingredients that make sense for you and they are not the same for me.

That’s good! Because we all are different and the secret sauces we all enjoy require different attention. But perhaps the end result is that a person can travel the rest of their life. Pick the countries though. Do some research. Join an ex-part forum and use TripAdvisor. For lodging use Agoda and Booking.com. Or just go. That’s okay too. It all depends on what floats your boat. For me, I like a baseline of planning. I like having the room booked so I know I have a place to crash and a home base to plan from.

Go forth and make it happen according to your own life’s plan. I did.

Photography for Fun and no Profit besides my own

So this post is about cameras and not so much about travel or vagabonding. I have a few interests in my every day retired life. One is to make every attempt at getting over 12k steps done each day and I have been pretty good. The second is to take my FujiFilm X100F camera with me and blaze new frontiers. The last or maybe the first is to simply enjoy life, drink the beer, eat the food, and remind myself every day that this is not travel.

In the interests of the camera and what I do with it, I have been messing with a variety of customization options and since I’m new I tend to do research online to find more experienced people that may have done the same thing. I’ve come to find out that there are a number of things particular to the Fuji X Series cameras which need testing and experimentation. The first are the film simulations. There are over 7 I believe and some have multiple options like Standard, Red, Yellow, Green. I cannot possibly test on all of them so I narrowed down my choices to two and I based this on the quality of the images. The two I like on the Fuji X100F are:

  1. Classic Chrome
  2. Acros

Both bring you back to the film days one way or the other. Classic Chrome has this wonderful look to it that to me is made for daily exploration in a city with vibrant colors. Acros on the other hand is a black and white simulation but it has this funky look and it has four options to try that each have different use cases. I’m sticking with Acros Standard and Red for now.

Then there are a whole slew of customization options and here is where the rubber meets the road. Its easy to go bat shit crazy and find whole bunches of different options to try. The customizations are:

  1. Noise Reduction
  2. Sharpening
  3. Shadows
  4. Highlite Tones
  5. Color

You can see the problem, right? Too may options and every photographer has a set of favorite changes. The problem is when you see their images and you do the changes rarely do you get a similar look. What to do? I decided. I went back to a resource I use which is a book written by Dan Bailey on the Fuji X series cameras. I basically reset them all to defaults since I was getting frustrated and the quality of the photographs were starting to flag and the fun of the whole thing was going down the drain. Photography is not a job for me. Its supposed to be a fun adventures where I learn, test, try, record and save. Yet all these settings frustrate me. I decide to try yet another set of customizations and then I’m calling out in pain so to speak. So I visit Dan’s ebook for help. The help is reset all of them to 0 and start with the basics. The next thing to learn is Exposure Compensation since most of us shoot in Aperture Priority mode anyways. This has an immediate affect on what you see in real time. Darken, lighten. Make immediate choices and see the results.

These other settings I have decided are important but I will only go after two of them. One is Highlight and the other is shadow. If I use them, I will want to build this subtle S curve in the camera. One either turns down or up the highlights and the other turns up or down the shadows.

Now that is an achievable target. Not 5 or 6 of them. Enough to test with. Lets first get the basic stuff working and learn the two film simulations better. Then lets learn the direct effect of Exposure Compensation. Then lets start with the settings that can change the images by adding or removing shadows or highlight tones. This is achievable. Reading settings that Fuji Pro’s use is not. I will never be able to duplicate nor would I want to their settings. What I really need is my own style so I created one.

My style I dub “Urban Photography”. I want to take pictures of people, buildings cars, parks, trees, historic sites, whatever but I want them to be done with my settings so they are marked as mine. I also do not want to edit RAW files or shoot in JPEG+RAW. Its too much damned work and I don’t want to sit around and edit files that have all the color simulations pulled out that I am so carefully learning. So the uses of Lightroom or Affinity Photo or Photoshop go away except to perhaps minimally edit the JPEGs.

Fun then comes back and life becomes better for my goals. I get to enjoy the photography and the walking and not deride myself that I cannot create an image in the likeness of some Fuji master. I am not a master nor do I want to be. I want to create images I save and share and perhaps are somewhat good. But, in the end, they are my images.

If you do photography, what are your goals? Do you have your own style or approach? Do you shoot in RAW format and then edit the photographs in Lightroom?

I think each of us has a style or approach or a knowledge thing we want with something. Whether it was before making projectile points from Edwards Plateau Chert or now shooting photographs in Hanoi. We cannot emulate the masters or our work is not our own. And the fun goes out and is most likely replaced by misery. Misery which my ex-wife would tell me is “optional”.

Thoughts and Retrospections on Retirement and Travel

Two months in Hanoi! Amazing. I will have been living here for 2 months in a few days. I’ll be traveling to Hoi An during the second month. Its been an amazing little trip thus far.

I think the first two weeks in Japan really set the mood for retiring and knowing that I would not return to the states any time soon or even later. I don’t have anything to go back to. No car, no room, no job. Nothing there awaits me with trepidation or joy. My kids have gone their own ways. Both adults. One lives in Florida with her dude. The other still lives at home due to some challenges he has but in many ways he has grown up and matured. I’m happy for both of them in different ways.

Then there’s the job I had. A wonderful time at Veritas LLC with great people, a boss that started out wrong but became one of my best friends there. A group VP that honored me many times and let our CIO know that many things at a good level were because of my delivery. In the end he also acknowledged it all on LinkedIn by saying farewell. I was sitting over the time-honored beer after stumbling around for the day and getting completely sweaty. I guess its normal to wonder what the accomplishment was, what I had done, where I’m going. I see others traveling in their orbits. They have plans and places and things and agendas. I guess when you have a shorter duration visa for Vietnam you tend to have to make some kind of plan. You know in 3 months you have to leave. But lemme say. Having a 6 month tourist visa was the sauce. For a few reasons I can bullet:

  • the time. I had set in my mind that I would travel slowly and live in places longer. I wanted to learn the place or places. Vietnam has been great for that. Hanoi has become this quality of life to me. Fast, random, full of moments. Without the time, I would never have felt like I truly retired.
  • the trips. I had set in my mind to take trips of shorter duration within Vietnam. I’ll be leaving in a few days for Hoi An and then a few weeks later for Hue. Then a little over a week back and I leave Hanoi and do the run to Hong Kong for days.
  • the pace. I wanted a slower pace to enjoy the first two things. I did not want to rush the days to say I saw the old quarter or the French quarter. I wanted to do repeat trips with a slower pace.

As I look back on the retirement and the no goal goals; I think I met them. There are some things which still get me. I still think of work and feel rushed sometimes. Sometimes it seems like the five pound chicken with the ten pound egg thing. Perhaps I think of life back in the states. How I could never have had a quality of life there like here or Cambodia or Laos. I could never enjoy. I could have only subsisted. Maybe still worked. Still working was not an option. Its like someone emptied the tank with work. I had no more to give. When I left on 28 February, it was like the work tank had emptied and gas stations and new projects would not avail.

The final thing is writing something longer I think. I feel the urge to sit and write something longer sometimes. Perhaps a method and workflow to doing what I did. I don’t need to monetize the blog or have google ads or try to sell patreon support. I don’t really need any more than what I have. This room. The Banh Mi sandwiches and the cold beer with the AC going along.

And you all reading and maybe finding a small thing of value when you decide your days of work have come full circle. I will say that you can leave too. But the countries here are changing fast I think. Vietnam is still a joy at a financial level but the world and its economies are going through growth. Look at where you are and where you want to be. If you are an oldster like me, perhaps consider how you too could leave. I will say the States are no panacea. There is no joy of life there when everything costs and then costs more. You may have some culture shock living elsewhere. That’s ok. We all do. You may find your own place and perhaps its not Asia. Other places are cheaper too.

I will say you deserve more. The states do not deliver the goal if you are old and thinking of living on the pittance that social security doles out. Save some money to have behind you, get rid of debt, find the way to depart. Life will be simpler and easier and more minimalistic. You can wander the streets of the old quarter too!

Traveling around today — the lake and other places

Cold beer at Hoan Kiem Lake and heard from my friend Nguyen that lives here in Hanoi wanting to meet to show me around the city. We will meet up in a few weeks when I get back from Hoi An. Today I walked around and around Hanoi mostly at the Hoan Kiem Lake area but also went to parts east, west, north and south. The city fascinates me with its different districts and how you can turn a street and suddenly be out of the frenetic pace of the old quarter and see wide blocks with few pedestrians.

I think that’s one of the fascinating parts of the city. Its not just one city. Its like a whole bunch of cities all compressed and laid out geographically and by walking you don’t see a gradual transition. You turn a corner where the pace of selling and buying is amazing and suddenly you find a quiet wide street with embassies and official residences. The streets are wide and it seems the traffic laws are a bit more taken. Strolling these streets there are not the shoe shine people, others wanting you to buy this or that. Its quiet and you can have a measure of time to reflect on the day. There are more up scale restaurants that I never go into and more coffee shops. Lets face it coffee in Vietnam is big business. The coffee shops dot the city blocks and I have gone in to a few when it rains. Language is no barrier to coffee. You point, they pour.

It was also a very pleasant yet warm day out today and I always work up a decent or even more sweat before I get done and I’m back at the lake. Then there is a 1.5 liter water bottle and I watch the people. I’ve come to the conclusion that most people are here on rather short visits. Maybe weeks. I’m going on my last month here. When I pay my room on Monday evening, it will be the last month in Hanoi for me but its packed with trips and getaways. I think I will miss the city that is actually several cities. It reminds me of Tokyo. When you go to Tokyo you realize its not a city but a group of districts and you can travel in a big circle and see them. The Tokyo metro subway helps with that endeavor significantly but the best way to see how Tokyo is Tokyo is by walking. Its a great city of many cities to walk in. Hanoi has a similar vibe going. Walking Hanoi means being able to be right there and see how the city changes.

The last time I went to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Park, its noticeable how the entire vibe and feeling changes. If you get here, why not spend a bit longer and dust off those walking shoes. You can do the street crossings by simply watching and going. The main thing is the going. Tour guides and cyclos are only part of the story. There’s a earthy and passionate feel to cities that you have to get when you cross the street, walk down that smaller street and see the places most tourists will never get to. Small parks and schools, kids laughing. Its all there for you.

But, in the meantime, here’s some pictures of the day out. I’m getting literally thousands of photos. Perhaps I will clean up the Hanoi photos at some point and delete some. I don’t pay for the storage though so the desire to clean it up is less.

If you are a wanderer and nomad or vagabond or whatever, consider the longer stays at places. I’ve benefitted a few ways from doing that. The tourist Visas are not that hard to deal with. The things you will learn will be greater and the travel becomes so much more than bucket lists and stamps in the passport.

Ha Trung is the Street – I found what I needed there!

This is about getting the smaller things done in Hanoi I guess. I have pretty much given up wearing jeans here so I took a pair of cargo pants in to have them altered in the waist. You cannot go to a regular tailor for this. There is a special street in the old quarter where you can find backpack mending, detail work on leather and other materials, and money exchange. Seem like an interesting combination? I thought so too :-).

So of I went to Ha Trung Street based on the recommendation of a tailor. My goal was to find a person who would alter my store bought and cheap cargo trousers by taking them in about an inch in the waist. I guess I’ve lost some weight in the 90 degree heat and wandering 12 to 14k steps per day. I’ve tried to compensate by drinking beer every day. Anyways, here’s the rule in Hanoi. There’s a street for everything and the street I needed was Ha Trung Street. This post also suggests if you want a backpack mended, store bought jeans altered, or other stuff like this you must find the wiggly waggly Ha Trung. I did.

The first few places I stopped were not the ones. The third one was. She took some measurements and had me try on the pants. She smiled a lot and laughed and told me to come back after 5pm. We did not haggle. I came back and the pants were done and fit better. Its worth it because you cannot easily find western sizes for old retired guys like me here. So I find the places that will take care of my needs.

I stopped and talked with the hotel guys and they told me I was going to the right place to get the job done. I will say I spent about $4.00 to have the job done to my satisfaction.

The main message I have for you if you come to Hanoi is find the street of your desire. Electronic repairs? Go look north of Hoan Kiem Lake. I have seen more laptop and electronic repairs there. Clothing? Old quarter is the place pretty much. Do you need some metal? Flowers? Cloth? Candy? I have seen it all wandering the streets.

Its different than the US where you look in a phone book or go online. Here you ask someone. I found that this local tour shop with the nice people will tell me where places are to get things done. Find the places. Its all good in Hanoi. It just takes a different direction to look. Except for Pho. Pho can be found in any old direction you wanna go 🙂

Glue for my Travels

Working my way back to using Ulysses for blog posts. I use it for all else pretty much. Since it runs on my Mac laptop and iPhone it becomes much easier to start a post and then pick it up on the Mac later in the room.

A lot of my posts are about the travel and photography and the philosophy of it all. You need glue too. Glue keeps all the little parts together and lets me share across devices in just about real time. Glue allows the start of an idea or thought and decide what I want to turn it into. Blog post, article or story I will publish, or amplify into a diary post.

It’s hard to have glue if the adhesive comes in all different containers. I’ve tried before to move off the tool. It changed to a subscription model so I tried Byword. I tried Day One for Journals. Nothing works when it’s all in pieces. Byword has the components but not the organization or integrated model of groups and sheets and document management. It’s a push for me to adopt it.

No matter what though I think when you hit the road and want to chronicle the life ways you need a central repository. It’s the place where ideas spring forth and travel plans are kept. It’s central idea is the home for your words. Long, short, bullets or free form. Find a thing that can give you the power to create and use it.

It could be Google docs as well. It has power across platforms. This Ulysses thing to me though has a central essence that is missing in all else. Perhaps it’s power or control or freedom.

What do you use as that central tool to help you track and manage the moments, creativity, plans of your life? If on the Apple ecosystem check out Ulysses. If not, google documents is very powerful.

All in all, it makes the travel easier to manage and quickly capture ideas that are then presented back to me in my room at night. Ideas are good. Capturing them and getting a workflow is key.

One other note…

I am not satisfied or happy with how the accounts and storage space are computed on wordpress.com. There is no way to upgrade storage only and I have raised a support question. I will not upgrade to a business account to pay for a storage upgrade. Photo’s take a lot of room and yet there is no way to share photos with google photos which is my chosen photo management utility since it has applications and easy sharing to facebook, twitter, and google plus. I don’t like just posting links.

If I do not see a path by December to upgrade the storage, I will be forced to leave for . self-hosted wordpress.org solution on DigitalOcean. I mention this because wordpress.com has no real plan on upgrading storage only while keeping us on the same overall plan. That’s not good if you write a lot, upload lots of images, etc.

I won’t do a business plan for my blog so by December I view the time and space I have to be dwindling to a point where I have to make a choice. I’m calling on you WordPress to make storage available by itself so we can upgrade as we need. Capturing and sharing photographs is a primary thing I like to do. I have no qualms about downloading my backup/export file and moving to DigitalOcean and installing wordpress from scratch. I don’t really want to leave the wonderful community here and I enjoy reading all of your blogs. WordPress is not supporting those of us who are photographers or image editors whatsoever though.

I’ll wait and see and then comment on this post when I hear something. I want to continue sharing my travels here but I won’t just hop and skip through different plans. Storage should be a cheap upgrade without changing the plan itself.

Update:

Hi all. I have a few options on wordpress.com which I don’t believe will work. I can upload my photos to another site like flickr. I take on the average of 100 photos a day and I only share a few out of concern of storage space. Then I would have to consider what my cost would be to upgrade to the business plan. That would be almost twice the cost and I would then have features I would never use.

So, long story short; wordpress.com is not going to work after about December when I reach about 70% of available space. I am going to migrate the domain to a self-hosted installation on a cloud provider by end of the year instead of renewing my account.

When I first started the blog here on wordpress.com, it seemed then it would be a great deal for me to ease back into blogging. What has happened is that now I am traveling with new demands especially for sharing photography. I could see uploading 20 to 50 photographs a day from my camera and sharing. At that rate, 13gb of space will go rather quickly but 80gb of data will last me awhile and then I can simply buy more storage.

I think for the  majority of people that the personal account is good if you share a few things every so often. I’ve faced the same issue before with hosted providers and have stopped at one place and then moved to another. I really like the community here but the travel and the photographs have demands that I don’t mind paying for if there is a path to pay for it.

I can re-point the mikesplaces.blog domain to my own registrar at google domains pretty easily and then bring up wordpress. You may never run into issues but I have plans for this blog in serving up my photography on a daily basis.

Thanks to you all for following me and reading along as I go through Asia slowly. I have some months before moving things but now I know there is not a path forward at wordpreess.com besides buying the business service for which I would only use the storage.

 

It’s a warm Reunification Day in Hanoi – time for ice cream

For the third day the streets around Hoan Kiem lake are shut down in observance of the holiday. I walked south of the lake and took side streets kinda reminding me of Japan. Little stores, the ever present coffee shop, no cars. More people walking. Now I sit at an ice cream shoppe and feel the cooler breeze from the lake float past. My chocolate ice cream is in a hurry to melt in the almost 90 degree sunshine today. I merely observe. It does not matter really since I came here only to sit in the shade and see the lake.


There’s the lake and my fast melting ice cream and so I sit only too glad to observe and have not a thing to be done and the rest of the day to get it done.

I’m thinking a pizza tonight would be good. I have not splurged on dinner for awhile. But that’s later. I’m on glorious standard retirement time. The clock ticks not at all. Reminders are not set. Hanoi sparkles and the children run with balloons and foam airplanes that weave and dive and delight.

The day will once again fade to evening and another day in the books where there are no books and no accounting.

The lake water whispers some blessing but beyond the ken of mortal ears. Hanoi is a delight of the senses.

My ice cream turns and so does the day.