I found Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to be a fascinating city when I first visited in 2014, and really wish I’d had more time there. It was very busy, the traffic was insane and every time we went to cross the road felt like we were tempting fate just a little more. I felt like the people of the city would have really had some stories to tell, if I’d only had the time (and an interpreter) to listen.
I really liked Hanoi – it was just the right mix of crazy and busy and so much to see. The food was unreal, particularly the street food scene. I felt that the people were more wary of foreigners in Hanoi than they were in Hoi An and Saigon, but that’s ok; they were still very friendly and as helpful as they could be with the language barrier. It’s hard to explain the streets of Hanoi… I guess chaotic, but also charming, in their own ways. I’d go back tomorrow, without question, there’s still so much I didn’t get to see..
I’m a huge advocate for living in Melbourne, despite our woeful public transport and ridiculously high cost of living; it hasn’t had the honour of world’s most livable city bestowed upon it for nothing!
But what I love the most, is the Fitzroy/Collingwood/Smith St/Brunswick St area. It’s a place where there are no norms and no rules. It’s now inhabited by a lot of hipsters, but that’s ok. You can understand why, with the insane amount of cool new restaurants and bars opening on what feels like a weekly basis, endless second hand, vintage and pre-loved books, clothes, jewellery and all the rest of it on every second corner, great beer gardens, and all manner of people strolling around. Young hipsters, older couples, families with young kids, try-hard cool teens, crazy cat ladies, ranting hobos, camera-clad tourists and people like me harmoniously share the footpaths and cafes without a second thought.
It’s the kind of are where you can wear whatever you want, be any body shape, listen to any music, and read any book you want out the front of any establishment without fear of being judged. It’s an area where it’s cool not to be cool. And in a society where we, particularly young women, feel like their every breath and movement is being judged against impossible standards, it’s something special. It’s my happy place, my safe space, the area I feel most at home. It’s dynamic and ever changing, yet it always comfortable and familiar. It’s kind of like wearing your favourite, old pair of shoes with a new outfit every time.
Anyway, I recently got onto the VSCO Cam bandwagon, and I took these snaps over the weekend while I was out strolling the streets with the husband… welcome to my favourite place in the world!
Yes, it’s gotten a little too touristy. Yes, there are too many billboards detracting from the beauty of the city. Yes, there are busloads of tourists pouring through buying up all the tacky souvenirs. And yes, everything is ridiculously overpriced (because of the dull tourists who know no better and are happy to pay twice as much for their coffee for the privilege of sitting outside in the piazza to drink it. Twats.). BUT, Venice is still stunning.