Monthly Update: Saigon – January 2016

Holy shit! Where did 2015 go? It feels like the past five months have been quite the whirlwind. You may notice that I’ve been super lazy in making any attempt at making updates here as well as my other blog. I’ve spent the past five or so months road tripping across America, and in the end, it felt like I bite off more than I could chew. I’m now on a regular working schedule in Saigon now and hopefully, these bite sized (pun intended) monthly updates will be more manageable.

What happened in December?

Well, in December I was wrapping up my American Road Trip in Colorado. I didn’t intend on ending it there, but with the plummeting Australian dollar, I couldn’t justify the mounting costs in order to keep going on; so I decided to sell the car and head to Vietnam.

Before selling the car in Denver, I finished up my tour of the National Parks in Utah and Colorado. One thing that impressed me mostly was at the scale and accessibility of these locations. The American government has done an incredible job in setting up the infrastructure for visiting and the upkeep of these natural treasures.

Utah

Although some of the laws in Utah may seem slightly odd compared to the rest of the country, it’s one of the most beautiful places in America. I was passing through here at the end of November and into December visiting Canyonlands and Arches National Park. I spent a total of a week there trying to explore every nook and cranny of eroded landscape that form many of the plunging canyons, towering arches and labyrinth like mazes. There is so much diversity within the two neighbouring national parks.

arches national park long exposure

Landscape Arch in Arches National Park, Utah

Colorado

The final national park that I visited was Colorado National Monument which was absolutely stunning. It was the first time shooting in snow and I spent a few days exploring the landscapes and encountering mountain goats along the way. I stayed in Grand Junction with a Couchsurfing host, who along with her husband had spent three years cycling from the north of Canada to Argentina. I hadn’t used Couchsurfing much until America, but in the end I loved making connections with welcoming people who had the most incredible travel or personal stories to tell.

snow at colorado national monument

Pondering my next move at Colorado National Monument

On the way to my final destination of Denver, I had my first experience driving through heavy snow conditions. Driving through the Vail pass and into Denver, I had never been so concerned on this road trip as the windscreen wiper fluids in my car froze resulting in having to stop every few miles to wipe the frozen dirty snow off my windscreen. With treacherous conditions, I honestly thought that I was going to spin out of control and right off my car, days before selling.

flatirons colorado

Exploring the Flatirons in Boulder.

boulder brewery

Drinking beer in the main brewing area is pretty cool. #thatgreenjacket

In an attempt to show any signs of fitness, Jessica, my Couchsurfing host in Denver and I went to the Flatirons in Boulder which was quite impressive, despite nearly getting lost on the way down. Jessica hasn’t used her camera much lately, so it was good to provide an impromptu workshop which we hiking around.

I also got to meet Ashley, another blogger and also fellow beer lover, whose blog I’ve been following for some time. Naturally, we met up at a local craft brewery.

An American Wedding

The reason why I had to sell my car within a deadline was that I was also attending my friend’s wedding. I met Jennifer in Bariloche, Argentina during both our round the world travels and we also ended up traveling together again in Myanmar as well. Lucky for me, I sold the car a few days before the wedding and could make it  in time.

alabama wedding

My first American and Southern wedding of Jennifer and João in Alabama.

Where am I now and what am I doing?

I’m now back in Saigon, Vietnam, and just as I started 2015 in this city, it’s great to end the year in one of my favourite places in the world. It’s great to be back amongst the chaos, exploring old and new cafes, and eating AMAZING food which is also better for my waistline. I’ve caught up with old friends as well as new ones and done plenty of food exploration. More importantly, I am attempting to catch up with writing lots of stories from the past five months.

ho chi minh city sunset

Back amongst the chaos, and loving it!

In an attempt to lose my American belly, I’ve been exercising profusely, and as a result have noticed the increased pollution levels. There definitely is a visible sign of increased traffic, mainly in the form of cars on the road; I hope Ho Chi Minh City doesn’t turn into a mini Beijing.

vietnamese banh mi

Discovered a new Banh Mi place to add to my Banh Mi Quest.

vietnamese street food

Food wise, there’s always something new to discover.

vietnamese street food

Bun Thit Nuong always tastes better in Vietnam

Where to next?

I plan on staying in Saigon until the mid February, where I’ll then head to Bangkok, Thailand to photograph a conference – YAY, more paid work! I don’t have plans to venture too far out from the city, but I do plan on renting a motorbike and do some additional exploration of the outer districts; to find more cafes and delicious street food.

hello kitty airport

Working out of a Hello Kitty themed departure area during a ten hour layover in Taipei Airport

Let’s connect!

Given my tardiness on keeping this blog up to date, you can stay up to date with daily food updates on Instagram. I’m also shooting a lot of candid behind the scenes video and photos on Snapchat @Jimmydau


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Monthly Update: Saigon – January 2016 — 4 Comments

  1. Pingback: Where I’m At Saigon – February, 2016

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