Greetings from Saigon and welcome to another edition of Where I’m At – rounding up my travels from the last month, and other news. If you are new here, subscribe to my travel newsletter to get the weekly email that rounds up the best travel reads from around the web.
Where I’ve been
A brief roundup of where I’ve been over the last month. Spoiler alert: not many places.
I started the month in Phu Quoc where I was compiling a report on the massive amount of construction that is going on there. The above photo is a new city that has a Venice-style grand canal. There are hundreds of shophouses and thousands of hotel rooms, and I’m not sure how they expect to fill them. I’m still getting my head around it. I’m doing a construction report at Future Southeast Asia, and I will have a travel-themed trip report here at Nomadic Notes.
I had planned to travel more in April and make the most of the last month of the southern dry season. In the end, I didn’t travel for the rest of the month. Something didn’t feel right.
When I returned to Saigon in March 2020 and declared that I’m going to ride it out here, I knew that 2020 was going to be a write-off. Deep down I knew that 2021 wasn’t looking good either.
We are now well into the second year of the pandemic, and things are not getting better. At least not on a global level. Sure, it’s great to see my American friends getting vaccinated in their droves and talking about vacations in Europe this year. As India is showing though, this thing is not over. If places like India spiral out of control and the virus has a chance to experiment with mutated strains, then we are back to where we started. We all have to recover together.
In my regional neighbourhood, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos have dropped the ball after doing so well for a year. Thailand were previously quick to lock down migrant workers at factories, but not much for party goers in Thonglor. Cambodia also let it get out of control before locking down hard. Poor old Laos was doing everything right until recently as well.
Meanwhile, in Vietnam, we got our first local case in over a month at the end of the month. The authorities here though are swift. After the first day of a case being reported in a village, the entire village was locked down for a month.
Saigon is not taking chances either. After one case was reported here, they have ordered to shut down bars, discos, and karaoke places until further notice. They are now issuing fines for not wearing a mask.
With no end in sight in this part of the world, I’m mindful of if/when the travel side of my business will recover. Fortunately, I’m in one of the cheapest places to live in Southeast Asia, so I can get by. With that in mind, I’ve slowed down a bit to knock a big dent in some projects.
The good news for me at least is that I can keep myself entertained in this big city. There are always new cafes opening up here, which I make a point of seeking out every week.
There are also plenty of international food options that keep my palate travelling, even if my body is not. One of my writer friends here wrote this article about the dining scene in Saigon during the Covid era.
I’ve almost caught up with my blog posts of my travels around Vietnam, which means I might start blogging more about Saigon.