Journal Entry: September 16, 2015: Son picked me up on his motor bike this morning and we rode around Saigon while I filmed the traffic. We stopped for lunch and had beef and cow tail. After lunch Son dropped me off at a cafe where I worked, processed some photos, answered emails and got caught up on some work. That night we went shopping in the outdoor market, then back to the Zoom Cafe where we went the first night I arrived.
Saigon in the morning rush hour was unbelievable. Here is the video below that I put together from that morning ride.
We rode around Saigon all morning, then we stopped for lunch. As we parked the bike to walk to the restaurant I turned around to snap one of my favorite photos from this trip (below).
Above: This is my favorite photo from the trip, the details in the street, the power lines, people, scooters, signs, and the father and son walking together as the older man stops and looks at them. This was my last day in Vietnam and for me this picture captures so much of what I experienced.
The moment I captured that photo above, I knew it was going to be one of my favorites, and I remember editing the picture a few hours later at a cafe and emailing it to my mom with a message about how my trip was going. After I took the picture, Son and I sat down to have our last lunch together as I would be heading back to Hong Kong the next day.
Above: Son and I having beef and cow tail at a restaurant in Saigon. I would be leaving the next day, so this was the last of the many lunches we had enjoyed together.
The rest of this day was fairly calm, Son dropped me off at a coffee shop where I could work and he went to his office for a few hours to work as well. We had been off the grid for over a week and we both needed the work time. At the cafe I edited some photos, answered emails, and looked over my travel plans for the next few days. Later that night Son and I went back to the Zoom Cafe in the backpacker district, this was where we began our adventure a week ago when I arrived. In the morning I would fly back to Hong Kong.
Journal Entry: September 17, 2015: On my way back to Hong Kong, skyped with family this morning, catching up in this journal now while sitting by a window at the airport, watching planes take off and land, leaving Vietnam in 1 hour.
Above: Vietnam Airlines flight VN-A329 from Ho Chi Minh City to Hong Kong, during the rainy season.
When I arrived back in Hong Kong, it is a place that I am accustomed to, I know my way around the city unlike the semi-organized chaos I experienced in Vietnam. So I took a cab from the airport to the Eaton Hotel in Jordan, a neighborhood on the Kowloon peninsula. I like staying at this hotel because it is close to the MTR (subway/rail station), and the hotel is across the street from the Temple Street Night Market, which is one of my favorite places to go when I am in Hong Kong. When I got to the Eaton, I checked into my room, cleaned up a bit and then headed out to take the MTR down to Tsim Sha Tsui station to catch the sunset on Hong Kong Island.
Above: Arriving back in Hong Kong in time to catch the sunset. This photo was taken on the Kowloon peninsula looking south to Hong Kong island.
After the sun went down I rode the MTR north to the busy Temple Street Night Market. I walked up and down the tents and make-shift shelters looking at all the cheap merchandise, clothing, electronics, and then found a place to sit and have some street food and a beer.
Above: Grabbing some street food in the night market, it was good to relax and have some alone time after a compressed and eventful trip to Vietnam.
I sat and relaxed in the night market for a while before heading back to the hotel. I went to bed at 9pm, the first early night in weeks. I was exhausted after that week in Vietnam, and all the travel, airports, plane rides, being constantly on the move. This is why I booked some extra days in Hong Kong, so I could relax and visit a few of my friends before the long flight back to the States.
Journal Entry: September 18, 2015: Skyped with family then packed up for a day out in HK. Had dim sum with Donny, then said good bye. After lunch I took the MTR to Tsuen Wan, messaged Jake B on the way for directions to his office. Walked through Tsuen Wan and found Jake, spent the afternoon and evening with Jake.
Over the years I have developed some good friendships with a few Hong Kong residents, writing this now brings a bit of pain because I miss them and I wonder if I will ever return given the changes that are taking place in the world and in Hong Kong. On this morning I met up with my friend Donny in the town of Lai Chi Kok. I went to his office first, then we went to lunch, which was a good dim sum place. After lunch I said good bye, and I wouldn't see him again until 2019, which would be four years later.
After my visit with Donny, I took the MTR to Tsuen Wan station, it is a longer ride northwest to this area, so I had time to sit and relax on the MTR and contact Jake (Dagaz Watches) and let him know I was on the way. Jake is one of the guys that I will meet up with every time I visit Hong Kong. We are in the same industry, and we are both watch crazy, and have other similar interests. My plan was to meet Jake at his shop then we would spend the rest of the day together.
Above: Riding the MTR during rush hour is not for the claustrophobic, but later in the evening it calms down and you can actually sit and enjoy the rides.
I was able to find Jake's office after some walking around, then he locked up shop and we headed out to see some cool places in his town. First we grabbed a few beers at a 7eleven and went into a watch shop that had plenty of used watches for sale. They had every Rolex sport model you would want, modern and vintage, all real, all at a good price. If I would have known what was going to happen with the price of Rolex in 2020, I would have bought that Sea Dweller 4000 on this day. That evening we grabbed some street food, then sat down for dinner at a place Jake goes to regularly. After dinner I headed back to the Eaton hotel for my last night in Hong Kong. The next time I met up with Jake was four years later in 2019.
Above: Jake, owner of Dagaz Watches buying some street food for us in Tsuen Wan.
Journal Entry: September 19, 2015: In a taxi heading to the airport. This will be my seventh plane ride on this trip. looking back there was KC to Dallas, Dallas to HK, HK to Saigon, Saigon to Danang, Hue to Saigon, Saigon to HK, and now Hong Kong to Dallas, then Dallas to KC. It is 11am HK time now, I will land in KC at 7:30am HK time tomorrow, but will go back in time so it will be 6:30pm tonight when I arrive.
Above: My plane in Hong Kong which will fly for 17 hours to reach Dallas.
The long haul over to Hong Kong and back is around 16 to 17 hours depending where you leave from. On this day I was going to Dallas which is one of the longest flights you can do on the planet. When you are on the plane for that long you have to get in the right mindset, relax, watch a lot of movies, it is a true test of patience for some people. As of 2021 I have done this long flight to Asia and back twelve times, six times out and six times back. Adding up all these trips is more than three months of my life spent on the ground over there, that is one of the reasons I have developed a strong attachment to being there and wondering if I will ever make it back in the future.
Below: A video I made from my trip to Vietnam, the song (which took some time to find) was something I kept hearing over and over in my hotel in Saigon, so it reminds me of the trip and I used it in my video for that reason.
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