Once again, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve lasted posted content on here.
When you work full time and try to manage a social life abroad, it can be hard to summon the motivation and energy to put together some content and sit in front of the Macbook to articulate it.
However, the past couple of weeks have been productive as I have edited some pictures and put together another video postcard.
Just last month, I took a solo trip over to Hong Kong and stayed for four days and four nights. I was there partly for an ultimate frisbee tournament and, partly for visa renewal purposes and of course to see the archipelago and give my weakened Cantonese skills a much-needed boost of practice.
This trip was a very nice opportunity to spend a few days by myself just shooting pictures and video to satisfy my photography/videography needs that I haven’t been able to do much of due to the amount of work I usually have going on.
Hong Kong is often remarked as “just another big city” – but it’s a pretty exciting city nonetheless. Towering skyscrapers, a saturated market for fancy wrist watches (real or fake), and a heightened sense of commercialism characterizes the former British territory. The people are genuine and the dim sum is above everything else you’ve ever tasted.
Here’s the video postcard of my trip. Hopefully, it’ll give you all a taste of my impressions of the city better than I can articulate at the moment. Enjoy!
Music – Tony Castles – Heart in the Pipes (Kauf Remix)
Shot with – Canon 7D, Canon 17-40mm f/4 L, Canon 50mm f/1.8 and Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 lenses.
Cut and edited with – Final Cut Pro X
I’m not posting as much. It’s true.
A number of things were going on recently that I couldn’t put much thought to paper (computer screen?) and get it all out. I did put out a new video postcard recently, as those who are following may have noticed.
Some things to jot down in quick point form since the last substantial posting:
- work permit application process in Vietnam is the absolute worst. I say this because since trying to get it done in early March, it wasn’t until two weeks ago that everything was finalized. Much appreciation goes out to the Asian International School for being patient and sympathetic with the grind that we experienced. If anyone from Canada needs help on getting a work permit as a teacher, I can probably say I’m well versed in it now. That said, rules here change, and it was due to a more recent rule change that made it much harder for Rosie and I to get everything done.
- a number of friends of mine from Canada have come on over to visit me. It’s been incredibly nice. Particularly a friend whom I haven’t seen in a couple years when he took off to Australia to work abroad.
- I went back to Nha Trang for a more local experience. The gist of that can be viewed on my video uploaded to Vimeo and posted on the previous blog post underneath this one.
- I also returned to Phu Quoc Island to meet up with one of my friends from Canada, who came to visit me. One unfortunate thing about the trip to Phu Quoc Island this time was the fact that a storm was passing nearby. As a result, we got a lot of rain at least half the time. That said, we still got to explore the island on motorbike, which was excellent.
That’s all I will write for now. I hope to get more time to update.
A video postcard of the Phu Quoc Island will likely be the next project.
Until next time!
It’s been awhile but here’s my next video postcard. It took a bit of time to put this together. Hopefully, those who are following will enjoy it.
I learned quite a bit from putting together my first video postcard and I tried to apply that here in my second video postcard.
In this video, we return to Nha Trang, the location where I shot the clips for my first video postcard. This time, however, we are treated to a much more local experience.
The following is the description I wrote taken directly from the Vimeo page:
My cousin has a couple of friends in Nha Trang. They’re fishermen and aquaculturalists working offshore from the mainland. We were fortunate enough to be able to spend a full day with these guys on their houseboat, which is normally off limits to tourists. They let us check out their aquaculture business, took us on a ride on their ridiculous rounded canoe(?) type boats, encouraged us to snorkel and swim around their property, and asked us to eat and drink with them.
These are some of the nicest guys I have ever met, and the experience can’t be matched. I wish I had more footage of them but I didn’t want to appear intrusive pointing the camera in their face and shooting their every movement. I wanted to become friends with these guys first, which panned out because I’ve been invited back whenever I’m in the area again.
Everything was shot handheld on a Canon 7D with 17-40mm f/4 lens and a GoPro HDHero 2 and put together on Final Cut Pro X.
Music: The Album Leaf – San Simeon
My dad calls him Amigo but a lot of people just call him Kee, or Ky (both pronounced the same way as you think it would be).
I have a huge soft spot for dogs and one of the best things about being abroad are the street dogs. Kee, however, isn’t a street dog. He’s my dad’s pup over here since my dad is based out of Saigon more than half the time when he’s not back in Toronto.
Most people know that I love dogs (which is also why I could never indulge in a particularly special dish here in Vietnam). And now I love Kee.
A video postcard from Nha Trang.
It took awhile, but I finally made it.
I promise there will be more video post cards to come.
This week will be bad.
Rosie and I are on the last stretch to push for all our documents to be sent to us in order to get the work permit process started. If this does not happen, we run the risk of losing this job for a bit before we can reapply. Rosie is waiting for her degree to come in from Toronto, and it is currently being held up at customs in Saigon but she cannot obtain it yet. Meanwhile, both our TESOL certifications have been reissued and expedited this time around so we hope to hear that it will land here by tomorrow.
Once we get these last outstanding documents, we need to find a lawyer to notarize it, then rush it to the Canadian consulate to get it “consularized”. In other words, we pay $50 bucks for them to simply stamp it. Kind of a pain.
One good news is one of my best pals from Toronto, Sebastien, will be in Saigon in the next few days. Probably by the end of this week. He bought a motorbike out in Hanoi back in the middle of March and has been making his way slowly towards the south. I’m extremely jealous because that’s a trip I really want to do one day. FYI, the run from Hanoi to Saigon and vice versa is about 1,700 kilometres. The topography of Vietnam can be crazy and the roads can be a bit hairy at times, especially in the central highlands (I hear), but that’s one adventure I’m down for.
Anyway, I can’t wait for Seb to get here and for this administrative nightmare to be over with. First video postcard will probably be delayed a bit longer.
Until next time!
I haven’t posted here in awhile on account of me wanting to kill myself dealing with the administrative obstacles for obtaining a work permit. My first video postcard from Nha Trang is almost finished.
In the meantime, I’ll post this video of my trip to Can Gio and Monkey Island a couple of weeks ago.
Me and the Lemieux’s in what would be one of our last times together in Toronto.
Sometimes you catch yourself missing things, places, people, what have you. Looking back on this picture taken 3 months ago back in Toronto is a reminder that while travelling is awesome and there’s nothing like it, I still carry a sweet spot inside me for things that are “home”.
I’m stoked. I finally get an official name tag from the Asian International School after having worked there for nearly three weeks.
Somehow, having this name tag to pin on my shirt makes it all feel more real – it cements the feeling of success and of having made it here in Saigon. Well… sort of. I’m still on my two month probation contract with the school, which ends on April 17th. Once I get all the stupid administrative/paper work completed to secure a work permit with the school, along with a good track record for the probationary period, then I will be offered a long term contract.
Still, this is one step in the right direction… right?
Before I upload my pictures, I’m just gonna post a few teaser pics taken from my cousin’s kid’s phone camera. Not the best quality but I felt compelled to give some of you friends and family members who might still be visiting my blog a taste of what we ventured off to.
This was a very brief trip during the Tet Holidays. My second uncle and his family wanted Rosie and I to come along so we booked a short three day excursion with them. I can tell you that the next time I come here, I plan to stay for a week. If not more. On this trip, I also got to go squid jigging at night. Videos of that to come.
For now, enjoy a few flictures from my cousin’s kid, Kevin Pham.
Rosie, myself, Baby Tram Anh and her mother/my cousin Chi Tet (Chi means ‘Bigger Sister’).
Kevin (the family calls him Ti Em) and I.
The same peeps plus Kevin (Ti Em).
Rosie and Ti Em.
Baby Tram Anh.
Where we stayed in Phu Quoc. It was a beautiful hotel.
And here’s Baby Tram Anh just sitting in the middle of our table as lunch is being brought out.
I need to force myself to pull pictures from my DSLR. And I promise video clips will be coming. I’m just slacking because there’s a lot of other fun things to do while I’m not teaching or lesson planning. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy updating this blog… but when I’m invited to cheap beers and cheap, delicious food then I’m inclined to choose cheap beers and cheap, delicious food.
Anyway, this is a small teaser from our trip to the Phu Quoc Islands. These pictures were taken by Kevin (Ti Em). I’ll have my own pictures up with a full recap shortly. That’s all for now!