Feb 28, 2013

City Icons: Saigon

Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City’s icon started off as a grand hotel. The French colonial style building was completed at the beginning of the last century. Named the Hotel de Ville, or City Hall, it catered to French brass during colonial rule.

In 1975 after the war, like Saigon, it was renamed. The Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee building now houses offices for Vietnamese government officials. The interior is not open to the public.

A statue of the city’s namesake, also know as Uncle Ho, sits in the park in front and in between a constant flow of motorbikes whiz by.

What do you consider iconic where you live?

Feb 24, 2013

Escape From New York Gets New Look

Welcome to a redesigned Escape from New York. A design overhaul was long overdue and follows a redesign of my Travel Photography site.  I’m getting all my ducks in a row before hitting the road for some upcoming travel.

The new look includes larger photos and a cleaner design, among other features.  I contemplated integrating this blog with my photography site and moving it to a domain I have had registered for years but for now it will stay put here. I’d be interested in hearing from others who have migrated from blogger. 

It’s hard to believe Escape from New York is entering its seventh year of publication. Thanks as always for coming along on the journey.

Photograph: Colonial architecture Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Feb 17, 2013

Where Graham Greene Wrote The Quiet American

On the corner of upscale Dong Khoi Street in Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City, is the French colonial era icon the Hotel Continental, built in 1880.

Graham Greene called it home while writing part of The Quiet American, which is based on his experiences as a war correspondent while living in Saigon. He favored room 214. The Continental is featured prominently in a film adaptation of the novel.

The quintessential “if these walls could talk” locale, during the Vietnam War the hotel’s bar was a popular watering hall for journalists, soldiers, diplomats and spies. Today state-owned Saigon Tourist operates it. Outside vendors sell bootleg copies of the novel.

Feb 11, 2013

Travel Photography Site Redesign Live

I’ve launched a complete redesign of my travel photography Web site. You’ll find new destinations in the portfolio section and every destination has been updated with new images, among other features. Come along for some armchair traveling and hope you enjoy.  

I’ve also finally set up a Facebook page if you would like to connect there as well.

Next up for a design overhaul is Escape from New York. Stay tuned.