Archives For Travel

Skipping all the background baggage of how we came to be, I think it’s safe to assume that humans have the greatest skill of thinking about ourselves. We think about what we are going to do. We think about our past. And we think about our possibilities or what-ifs. But the one that tends to be a popular one is our future and our fate.

Or, particular, our fortune.

How does it all end? What will become of us and our goals?

Will be successful? Or will be complete utter failures?

Thinking about questions and ideas will drive a person mad to find out the truth. And offering a sensible solution like a chance to peek into the future… who wouldn’t be tempted to use such a service? But the problem with these services is that they’re usually all scams and trying to cash in on your own desires and dreams and hopes.

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It’s strange coming back to a former life, especially when the transition is seamless.

I found myself waking up and letting my muscles walk me through the memory lane of how I used to spend my time living in District 7 of HCMC.

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November 13, 2017 — Leave a comment

Two weekends ago, there was a massive mountain waiting for me to climb. It was the Mordor of the moment. The payload was a ring in the shape of a backpack and inside was unmarked papers and multiple textbooks and a USB thumb drive that contained the blueprints of the greatest lesson notes I could muster.

All I had to do was climb and drop it all into the heart of the burning lava.

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There and back again.

It looked simple. It sounded simple. All we had to do was pack enough into a green duffle bag for a weekend and hit the road on a yellow scooter that still rattled and rolled.

Bunny and I were on a journey of a 116 KM — we are doing the HCMC to VT via Bien Hoa loop. It was the most traditional way anyone would embark on a motorbike ride to the popular tourist destination. Normally, we would buy two tickets for a ride in one of those companies that run large vans back and forth from the two cities.

This time, however, was a change of pace and scenery.

An adventure was the name of the game.

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On the first day of a new English class, there are four symbols drawn on the whiteboard: a square, a triangle, a “Z” and a circle. The students are asked to quietly select one that resonates the most with them. After a few moments, we hear their reasons and I reveal what each symbol means about their personality.

A square would be someone who was ambitious. A triangle would be the natural-born leader. “Z” would be the creative type. And the circle would be the “party animal” — the people person.

There are many who picked the last and each has their reasons: it’s easy on the eyes, it has a sense of harmony, it’s simple, and, my favorite, it has no beginning and no end.

In our lives, we see circles all the time. Like the water cycle or the natural life of plants, trees, and flowers. We have chaos and order. The light and the dark. And even life and death.

The endpoint of this post is focused on the story of a particular night in March 2015 when I was just starting my relationship with Bunny and we were coming home from the cinema. We were heading up the ramp of the underground parking lot when the shit hits the fan (a circular motion) and it almost resulted in the injury or possible death of myself, her, and a pair of security guys pushing a shopping cart down the ramp. All because of Speed Demon, my Honda Dream II motorcycle, and the accidental circus trick of spinning it around in a death spin with one hand while off the bike.

But before we get there, I wanted to think about another circus-like trick that involves circles, motorcycles, and fire — Vietnamese ladyboys doing their “ring of fire” dance in the middle of a busy street with other motorists not knowing what the fuck is happening. So, this one does connect with defying death, in a way.

But, let’s take with the term: ladyboy.

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There were bumps and scratches and scrapes during my teaching stint in Ho Chi Minh City. Molasses of traffic. Wipeouts. Jaywalkers. Floods. Machete fights. Purse snatchers. And even a heart-pounding stare-off with a random psycho that almost resulted in a Road Rash-like duel (but minus the safety gear and add in the fake Abercombie shirts).

Real hard shit like that.

This was a country that had random stories of people getting into disputes like saying the price of a sugarcane drink was too expensive by 5000 VND (~25 cents CAD) to killing each other over the gender of the bull on a can of Redbull.



I’m not saying it’s all twisted. Riding around on a motorbike has its own benefits and pleasures. You’re fully immersed and constantly aware of your surroundings without a wall of glass to hide behind. It’s only when you are driving stupid or like an asshole, while living in a city full of assholes that you could easily fuck up and die.

This incident is always a first that comes to mind. A solo stopping act that made my heart leap through my throat and into my mouth.

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Return of the Jim

April 26, 2016 — Leave a comment
Processed with VSCO with acg preset

“Two of Us” 


Long time ago, I walked away from a dream.

It’s still there. Hanging out on the streets of Toronto. Only getting up to wander at the early hours of the morning. Talking about how we’re going to do this and how we’re going to do that.

While that is happening, I’m waaaaay over here… across two continents and a sprawl countries and an ocean… deep in the urban jungle of a bipolar city… taking on the tropical heat and the torrent of flooding streets… I’m doing what people say I’m doing, I’m simply living.

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