Thursday, March 3, 2016

By The Travelling Palm Tree

Sunset by the travelling palm tree..

It has been a few months since I last wrote on this blog and I am happy to be back. I write two blogs, Collage of Life and Expat Diary: Viet Nam. They are the stories of my life...two lives, one in the USA and one in Vietnam. Part of the year I spend in the woods of New Hampshire and the the other under a travelling palm tree in Ho Chi Minh City.

We are nearing our four year anniversary in Vietnam. By expat standards it is a pretty long time. It is more common to see people stay 2-3 years. The flip side to that are the expats who have been here for 10-20 years and there are many. It is not unusual for some to end their working assignments and stay on, deciding that life in Vietnam is to good to leave behind. The lifestyle is relaxed and easy, the people warm and friendly, the cost of living is reasonable and opportunity for many is knocking. It is a dream come true for the budding entrepreneur, especially ones with business savvy. It is a dream come true for those entering retirement, a paradise of sorts.

The pace of life along the Sagion River..

Talk to any expat living in Ho Chi Minh City, short term or long term, and it won't be long before they start talking about the immense structural changes that have taken place around the city. Corporate high rises, apartment buildings, Metro rail line..taking the skyline to a new level..all at the expense of many of the beautiful old colonial relics of another time. It pulls on your heart strings each time you pass a familiar section of the city and see another building under demolition. The International New York Times featured an article this week about the very same... Colonial Architecture Fades From Ho Chi Minh City, and Residents Mourn

The calm before the construction...

For us, the changing skyline is personal. We live in a mango coloured house (we call it Chateau Mango) surrounded by orchids, hibiscus, lotus, mango and palm trees and a multitude of creatures who inhabit our tropical paradise... here and here .We once had a view to the clear blue sky by way of our travelling palm tree. And then it by day, month by month, buildings started to appear in the horizon.

Slowly they rise..

One after the other..

Final stages...a new skyline by the travelling palm tree

The buildings are still under construction and I understand thousands will move into the area. The Metro will transport people back and forth to wherever they need to go...if people decide to use it. In a city that moves to the 'beep beep' rhythm of motorbikes on the move...the Metro might take a while to adjust to. I hope they do because there hasn't been any move to adjust the neighbouring streets to accommodate the incoming residents. Another topic of conversation for the local residents...

As for me..when it fully functional, I hope to moving to the rhythm of another sound..the call of the wild in the woods of New Hampshire. ;)

I hope this works, just to give you an idea. I took this video clip to remember the sights and sounds of a changing landscape, by way of a travelling palm tree.

Have a question? Feel free to write to me at

Thank you for reading along!


  1. Change. Before I knew you and your wider writing, I fell in awe of a post I first found by serendipity about a city I loved, war time Saigon 1966, as you were experiencing it forty plus years later, in peace and in a mango chateau, with a Madagascar, where I later lived and loved, Travelers Palm Tree as a compass. While your farmer is just miles north of where I grew up, I'll so miss your reports from Ho Chi Minh, that very changed but important part of my life. Thank you so very much.

  2. Quite a change since I was there 2 years ago.

  3. When do you plan on leaving Chateau Mango for good? I have enjoyed your posts from there very much but will look forward to more about life at Tahilla Farm. Best wishes, Leslie in Oregon