The beach of Saigon

Welcome to FeedBurner subscribers, Swiss tourism and being Roger Federer's hair doppelgänger, Chernobyl tourists, Norfolk Island, and more travel reads from around the web.

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Hello from Ho Chi Minh City. Once again we are teetering on the brink of going into some form of lockdown, pending how quick they can put out the latest outbreaks. A lane has just been locked down here, which is how the virus has been contained so far. I stay here knowing that I could wake up with my street being barricaded. I think it’s a better system that a few streets take a hit for the team, rather than taking the whole country down. It helps that there is no religious nonsense here either.

This week I’ve been thinking about my time in Switzerland after seeing this great video from Switzerland Tourism, featuring Roger Federer and Robert De Niro.

I spent six months in Lucerne in 2003, and it’s where I started my digital nomad life. I didn’t know I was being a digital nomad, I was just working from my laptop in another country. One thing about living in 2003 was that I didn’t take many photos, and I wasn’t chronicling my adventures either. I had my first digital camera then, which I rarely used, and I had set on the lowest pixel quality to save space. What was I thinking!

Here I am in Saas-Grund in the canton of Valais, clearly wandering around in a daze, stupefied by the view.

It was around this time when Roger Ferderer began his ascendancy, winning his first grand slam at Wimbledon. Federer was playing my fellow Aussie Mark Philippoussis (The Poo!)

Being based in Switzerland I was already a Federer fanboy, so I was happy for either to win.

[Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2003 (via]

It’s hard to tell from my Swiss photo, but I had long brown hair tied back in a ponytail, just like Roger Federer. I would have random Swiss dudes point at me and say “Roger Federer!” My hair was wavier then, but I wasn’t going to spoil the moment. While we shared similar hairdos, the doppelgänging ended at the tennis court.

I would like to go back to Switzerland and take proper photos this time, and also visit some of the alpine railways that I didn’t see. It’s on my list of things to do when this damn pandemic is over.

Latest posts at Nomadic Notes

Where I’m At: May 2021 – Saigon edition

Notes on Vung Tau – A weekend at the beach of Saigon

Vung Tau is a coastal city in the Southeast region of Vietnam. It’s the most accessible nicest beach to Saigon, thus it is regarded as “the beach of Saigon”.

COVID-19 and travel (or lack thereof)

Why tourism needs to step up and push for vaccine equity

“No vaccine access for all? No tourism recovery. It’s playing out already, with more lives being lost senselessly. The travel industry should act fast and figure out how it can be part of the solution.”

Pressure mounts on Australia to support Covid vaccine intellectual property waiver for developing nations

“US now supports bid to allow poorer nations to make cheap copies of vaccines, but Australia is holding out.”

'Worth it': American expat in Thailand travels to Guam for vaccine, vacation

Town in Japan spent $228,000 of Covid relief fund on this large pink squid statue

Assorted travel reads

How the video game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. inspired a wave of real-world Chernobyl tourists

“As the number of tourists and other visitors to the Chernobyl zone in Pripyat, Ukraine rise, many can be traced back to a surprising source: the video game S.T.A.L.K.E.R.”

The story of Koh Phangan’s legendary retreat, The Sanctuary

“Covid is just the latest challenge for a hippie hideaway that became a world-renowned beach retreat.”

Without tourists, Bosnia’s Catholic pilgrimage site has turned into a ghost town

“Medjugorje, just southwest of Mostar in modern day Bosnia and Herzegovina, was a quiet Yugoslav town when, in 1981, the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared to six local children.”

Norfolk Island travel guide and things to do: 20 surprising things visitors will discover

“Norfolk Island is part of Australia but most of the locals don't see themselves as Australian.”

Rome’s Colosseum to gain hi-tech arena floor

“Retractable floor will allow visitors to see the ‘majesty of the monument’ from its centre, says culture minister.”

The plan to connect every British town

“GPS has mapped the fastest way to drive, cycle or bus between almost anywhere, yet there was no map showing how to walk between Britain's cities and towns – until now.”

Sweden, dressed in summer

TikTok account exposes 23 of the most used tourist scams that still work because not enough people are aware of them

Portugal opens world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge, and it's a trip

It takes a lot of thought and planning to paint a train

“Over the last 50 years, Amtrak has seen many designs come and go.”

A blinking map of the world’s lighthouses

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- James Clark