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A Day (and Night) in the Life of Saigon

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I’ve travelled enough to not get goo-goo eyes for each new city. We all know the type, “OMG! THIS PLACE IS AMAZING I AM GOING TO LIVE HERE.”

Well. Oh my.

Saigon is amazing. I. Live. Here.

Saigon has a vibe as all cities do.

Saigon has a fair amount of chaos and disarray, which excites me. I approach each new day without expectations.

Here are some photographs of Saigon I’ve taken.

Enjoy!

Saigon is humanity.

Light traffic in Saigon

Saigon is narrow streets.

Saigon street

Saigon is work.

Coffe shop and cafe in Saigon

Saigon is a lot of coffee.

Vietnamese coffee Saigon

Saigon is traffic.

Moto in Saigon

Saigon is new games.

Chinese chess

Saigon is walking.

Saigon streets

Saigon is riding.

shark moto bike saigon

Saigon is good food.

pho in Saigon Vietnam

Saigon is service.

The Saigon Cigar Club

Saigon is open air.

Tran Hung Dao statue Saigon

Saigon is water.

Saigon river at sunset

Saigon is a city.

Saigon sunset city skyline

Saigon is life.

Saigon is whatever you want it to be.

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30 Comments
  • Awesome dude! Looks like a great adventure.

    • It’s been fun, more fun that I’ve had in a long time.

      • Anon1

        if anyone deserves it, its you man.

        you earned it and then some

      • Ted

        How were Vegas or LA not ANY fun??? Alabama is not fun. Iowa is not fun but Newport Beach or Malibu?

        We’re both Tony Robbins fans and getting excited or feeling good about something is getting my into a positive state.

  • Some great photos there Mike.

    Saigon looks fantastic – it seems to have that quality that all great cities do of containing all of life within itself.

  • Samuel Nock

    Enjoying the photo essays. You’re a very versitile and experimental writer/blogger, and its working. Glad you are enjoying your new life in Asia.

    • Glad you like it, Samuel. This has been an experiment for me and it’s great you’re enjoying it.

    • Texeira

      Does anyone we see the irony in that Vietnam used to be full of guerrillas or freedom fighters (depending on how you look at it) yet, now Americans sip lattes and chill with their MacBooks when 40 some odd years ago they would’ve had to worry about getting sniped or bombded by the VC. It’s a crazy World man.

  • Loon

    Hey Mike

    I’ve really enjoyed seeing your growth/journey through reading DnP and now your personal blog.

    I’d be interested to hear (and I suspect you’ll need more time in Saigon) some observations you have made about Vietnamese culture vs US culture.

    • I only have one observation to share later. It will be interesting to hear what people who grew up in SEA have to say about it.

  • Wow man. Looks pretty fucking awesome

  • Garth

    Mike,
    How much was that black scooter?

    Could you break down your monthly budget (ie)-
    Rent-$500
    Utilities and Internet-$8o
    Groceries-$200
    Gym-$50
    Bike/insurance for bike/fuel-$300
    Entertainment (drinks, attractions, dates, etc)-$300
    Health expenditures-$150
    Monthly total- $1580 USD

  • Texeira

    Danger,
    I was doing my daily reading and began brainstorming ala Tony Robbins “Awaken The Giant” and it occurred to me to do what Tony says ask a person who’s good at what your not for solutions…
    Mike I totally suck with emotions (I’m very analytical and in a doctorate program now) but you seem to have a surreal level of emotional profundity.

    How can we all implement the right ideas and thought processes into our lives to understand and apply emotions in a pragmatic and useful way even if we are not talented with understanding emotions and using that energy well currently?

    • That’s what Gorilla Mindset is about.

    • Thomas Quinn

      Texeira,

      May I offer some advice?

      I am only 19, and you being in a doctorate program tells me you’re probably much older. Still, what I have to say may hold value.

      According to personality type theory, I am an INTP. If you know much about Myers-Briggs personality type theory, you would know that INTPs – as well as the other “rational” personality types – are notoriously out of touch with their emotions since their natural thought processes tends towards the logical and analytic. (Judging from the way you describe yourself, you are a rational). When I was researching about INTPs, I kept coming across threads and discussions on forums about how as they – INTPs – got older, they naturally started to “get a feel” for emotions, and that they tended to feel more balanced and such afterwards.

      I was thinking about a way to force this “feel for emotions” on myself. I didn’t want to wait until I was 40+ years old to become a better balanced person, I wanted it NOW. Soon after, I stumbled across this band, who’s singer wrote songs that articulated the emotional rollercoaster of highschool (pretty original, huh?) in a way that resonated with me greatly (I was in highschool at the time). I bought all their CD’s and would listen to this band non-stop. I would sing along at the top of my longs in my car with the windows rolled down. I started to actually FEEL what he was singing about in the songs. In this way I sort of brainwashed myself into feeling.

      Talking about it later with my girlfriend, she commented that I seemed much more emotive, expressive, and much more able to articulate my feelings ever since I/we started listening to that particular band.

      I would suggest, if possible, finding some sort of “emotional” music that resonates with you… I found that particular band my chance in a rather serendipitous manner, so finding said type of music is probably much easier said than done. Instrumental music might do it, but I find lyrics to be rather powerful and moving at times. If/when you find it, listen to it all the time.

      I would also suggest taking a look at King, Warrior, Magician, Lover. Mike has a post and podcast about it on Danger and Play. It’s a book about the Jungian archetypes of masculinity – which most of Meyers-Briggs personality type theory is derived from. Pay attention to the Lover archetype – this is the part of masculinity that deals with emotions and feeling, as well as being in the moment, etc. That particular chapter might give you some insight to better tap into your emotions.

      Hope this helps,

      – Thomas Quinn

      • Texeira

        I’ve played guitar for 17 years. I know about expressiveness- for me my heyday was Metallica and Sevendust. Now most of the bands suck ass as they’re all emasculated- only a few are really ruthless and talented like Avenged 7 Fold and Mastodon. I play with Macs too and make trance music. I love making music as its like a way to express myself nothing else can do. As for guitar- lately I’ve been in a rut. It all sounds the same and Im not currently passionate for it. My heyday when Inwas 16 learning to play was awesome- we had Alice N Chains, Metallica, Deftones and it was all macho intense bad ass stuff and so fun to go and get into a mosh pit at those shows. The movies we watched were bad ass like Death Wish, Commando,
        Platoon, Terminator, etc. Mikes close to my age so he knows what Im talking about. Now the call the swat team on kids for fighting and school and kick them out for name calling- back then like Mike has said Id go hunt somebody down or even just cold cock their ass in the hallway or bathroom. If I’d stayed at the all black school I was at Inwoukdve been in prison or dead as I won’t take their shit. Berthing today is your feelings or going with the mans agenda- its nowhere near as rowdy and less guys have muscles. At my high school most dudes lifted or trained MMA- today a lot of kids to home and piss off on Facebook all night.

        As for Myers-Brigg- I’ve known about it for a decade.’Instarted out an INTJ (all that anal retentive ideological political crap Inwas brainwashed with in college) now Im an ISFP- I came to the conclusion a lot of
        Information is marketing bullshit or designed to make hordes of followers. I’ve never liked authority or conformity and I reasoned most of what people think or believe is merely a perception they hold and not objective truth (no ones really objective). I guess you could say Im sick of all the bullshit but in America its everywhere. A good friend of mine worked in a Fortune 1000 and heard a Ivy League educated 60 something tear old billionaire CEO once say “90% of business is bullshit”- Id say that man would know. i think the whole system is rigged and its all become a toxic heap. All we can do is tru to make the most out of life but its messed up that its all became so corrupt and far from what it was meant to be in America.

        Id say Roosh V has the right idea about going to Europe as California, Seattle, and Vegas are the only places I like in America. Besides Nyc The rest of it sucks IMO. So yeah, I think its cool you suggested Myers Briggs- Im open to any new knowledge or ideas for learning about myself and others man. Post the links.

        All the best man. Try out guitar it’s like it opens up a new level of consciousness in you if you’re into it. The biggest con for me was I went from a state of wonder about the songs Id hear and now that I can play them at will by ear its all became old hat to me. I honestly wish I still had that child like sense of wonder when I started and could hardly fret a note. I think I’ll try surfing or riding Harley’s next.

        • Thomas Quinn

          I was mistaken, the post/podcast is “Unlocking the unconscious mind with Art:

          http://www.dangerandplay.com/2014/05/22/unlocking-unconscious-mind-art/

          The post towards the end and the podcast mentions King Warrior Magician Lover, and Mike discusses it some in the podcast.

          From INTJ to ISFP – that’s a helluva switch. Pretty interesting.

          As for my generation, things are soft. I know it, I’ve been entombed in it since birth, and it’s only been quite recently that it was pointed out to me when I found Bold and Determined.

          I’m living with my step-father’s father at the moment. He’s in his mid 50’s and his testosterone levels are about 200 ng/dl higher than mine.

          Things are soft, and things are confusing. Boys are being taught to be women, and girls are taught to be men. It’s absolutely fucked up. In highschool, I would get called a homophobe because I wouldn’t let other “straight” guys grab at my chest and smack my ass. I’m not exaggerating.

          “It wouldn’t bother you if you were comfortable with you sexuality!”

          It was fucking disgusting.

          I’m now thinking I should be brainwashing myself with that older metal. It’ll be a big switch, but will probably prove very beneficial.

          • Texeira

            Man what I learned is all of it in our society is brainwashing- public schools

            Mike has written about metal. It can be toxic and I think it did damage me a little psychology between drug use, drinking hard, and a pretty twisted family and community I grew up in. The system has attacked your masculinity and t levels- they dot want you to reproduce or have a life but I do. I say work on finding a hustle to make money. Approach tons of girls and don be shy (I’ve found the 9s and 10s are usually sweeter as alot of dudes are afraid to approach the. Especially at your age- Inwas scared then that’s why I say- approach them now and hard- dont hesitate).

            No, I want you to have a more healthy ans wholesome role model than Metallica. I think author James Wesley Rawles and Kenneth W. Royce both have books that are good for promoting an ethical, strong, positive masculine ethos as is Tony Robbins. Royce has a new book modules for manhood and Rawles really gets it all and shows you a good life path in his fiction works of “Patriots” and “Founders”. I cannot stress how awesome James Wesley Rawles writing is- this guy gets it.

            I’d say lift weights, find God, learn to use tools, get outside (hiking,’hunting, shooting guns/Incouldnwrite a book on that, fishing, surfing-all manly in my opinion) pproach a ten if you see one (10s for me are Germanic and Scandinavian looking blondes exclusively you may like Italian or French brunettes-Im hardcore for blonde hair and blue eyes- I love it). and wife her up and procreate. Like Dr. Hebry Makow has said- porn is gay and designed to waste our life force- is population control. 20yo dime pieces were meant to be wifed up and impregnated. That’s a main thing in life in my opinion- surviving and passing on your DNA from the best woman possible.

          • Thomas Quinn

            I appreciate the authors you’ve pointed me towards. I’m at work at the moment – I will make a note to add these authors /books to my commonplace when I get home.

            As far as a hustle goes, I’m on my way. I’m working as a cube rat right now ’til I reach my monetary goal, then I’m shipping out to Chiang Mai. Don’t want to reveal too much – talking about goals makes you think you’ve accomplished them. A gym membership is on the
            agenda too.

            I hear you on public schools – how can anybody truly believe ANY school run by a government has the best interest of the students in mind?

            My grandfather grew up a poor Oakie, doing all kinds of blue-collar jobs before joining the military. He’s an absolute gold mine of practical skills and wisdom. Hunting, shooting, gold prospecting, cars, all that. I’m learning a ton living with him. I’ve noticed my self-confidence has skyrocketed by just learning some simple hands-on stuff I’ve never been exposed to before. Crazy how important that kind of stuff is to boys/men.

            Man, you’re spot on with the tan-skinned brunettes. Ha ha. That’s one dragon I have yet to slay. Focusing on dollars first. I think it was Wallstreet Playboys that pointed out the 20’are best served making money, 30’s finding your woman. SMV and all that. Not to say I can’t get laid – I can. Perhaps not with a 10 yet. I’ve got a girl right now – transmuting that energy to get me to Thailand at the moment.

            I appreciate you taking the time to respond so in depth. I’m taking notes and soaking it all in.

            Thanks man,
            – Thomas

  • AP

    Legit post Mike. I mentioned Thailand in a previous comment on one of your older articles on this site, it relit the fire within: I’m going back this year. F it.

    Quick, off-topic question: I’m writing a post, is it okay to reference some of your work? (the latest article on D&P – lifestyle is mindset, just the intro paragraph – it’ll make sense when I release it, also I’ll link your article of course)

    The topic is how people copy and just use recycled material.

    • Sounds good.

      • AP

        Thanks for letting me reference your work, post released btw.

  • 2 cents

    Mike,
    I found you tears ago via Roosh V.
    Do you still post on the forum over there?

    Anyway-
    I’ve been listening to the podcasts since the beginning and this java script thing kept knocking me off ofmDanger and Play. But Inwanted to say my favorite podcasts have been Jay by far-
    His no bs talk on the man, corporate prison, making money and bringing in Markus Reinhardt Inloved all of that. Your podcasts on using art to unlock the conscious mind was brilliant.
    I think a future podcast about using the subconscious mind to unlock our potential and programming it to serve the individual soul in a optimal way would be brilliant. It’s my perception that all the “education” and media we induce in America and the West is nothing but the establishments way to keep is down- group think, limitations, political correctness (ie your 35 so asking out that 18 yo is gross-kind of lies), consumerism, conformity, and man the system even uses the power of suggestion to induce paganism. Think of all the evil toxic horror
    Movies and metal crap we were exposed to growing up. It was all toxic and it was all lies. I truly do feel for young teens and little kids today growing up in such a culture of Orwellian conformity.

    Also- Imdont know if you’ll ever do it or not- but a breakdown of Free Masonary, Khazar/Zionism, the Jesuits, the Rothschilds, Illuminati, etc would be cool. I’ve researched for years and know all that bs is linked to everything from daily periodicals to legal appellate opinions. It’s all a rigged game.

  • Ash

    All I’m gonna say is this: Men have no business being concerned with another man’s pockets. Men who do this are insecure about their own, and likewise shouldn’t be taking time out of their day to argue about it, but rather build their own bank accounts.

  • John

    I love Saigon. I’ve only travelled there this far but i will be moving there for a few months in late October!

    Safe travels!

  • Ray

    Hi Mike

    I like the way you approach your location independent lifestyle.

    Instead of just hanging out in one place, you travel around. But it seems you always take enough time for actually discovering a place. Good move!

    I wouldn’t do it differently.

    Ray

  • Bence Kreiner

    Mike,
    you are the father figure I never had.You are truly living the good life.Thank you so so much for yesterday,I can’t thank you enough.And although you told me that I was “pretty high strung”,drinking black coffee and reading your words is something special that makes my day.
    I really wish you and Shauna the best.

    • It was a pleasure meeting you. I’ll be back in Budapest soon, so let’s catch a workout then.

Living Vietnam

Cigars in Saigon

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Once upon a time in America a man could sit down with complete strangers and set aside the cares of the world.

Some men were CEOs, others were blue collar workers, and some of us were students. All were welcome and status did not matter.

Even women were welcome, and in fact the sight of a woman smoking a cigar was seen as a unicorn.

In the cigar lounge there was a certain brotherhood. Some even called it the “brotherhood of the leaf.”

I smoked cigars with Axl Rose and helped David Arquette choose the best cigars for his home humidor. In a cigar lounge, no one is a celebrity or rich guy. Everyone was equal.

I fell out of the cigar scene as smoking restrictions became more severe.

In an effort to protect workers’ health, California enacted various draconian smoking bans. No one would be allowed to smoke indoors, even if the employees had no issues with inhaling second-hand cigar smoke. (I happen to enjoy it!)

Even owners were prohibited from working around cigars. In a nation of obese people, you’d think we’d have bigger issues to address than cigar lounges.

Some of us viewed attacks on cigar lounges as a broader attack on masculinity. Men would go to the lounge to “get away from it all,” to kick our feet up in peace and quiet.

I’ve re-discovered my love of cigars in Saigon.

Like many Americans, I’ve learned the “communist countries” my government told me to fear offer more freedom than the land of the free and home of the brave.

My two favorite cigar lounges in Saigon are SIQAR and the Saigon Cigar Club.

As any cigar aficionado knows, there are more counterfeit Cuban cigars circulating than there are authentic ones. It was thus of paramount importance for me to interview the owners of the respective cigar lounges.

Last week I had a detailed discussion about cigar sources and counterfeits with the owner of the Saigon Cigar Club.

Today I had the pleasure to discuss cigars with the owners of SIQAR and can confirm their cigars are authentic. They order from a reliable source and unboxed a sealed box of Cohiba Behike, two of which I enjoyed.

(FYI, I don’t do sponsored posts or talk to anyone before reviewing their establishment. This is entirely unpaid.)

Drinking a Vietnamese milk coffee while writing and smoking.

milk coffee vietnam cigars

“A cigar oughtt not to be smoked solely with the mouth, but with the hand, the eyes, and with the Spirit.” – Zino Davidoff

A cigar is smoked with the soul

A fresh box of Cohiba Behike at SIQAR in Saigon.

Cohiba Behike Saigon SIQAR

SIQAR’s humidor is well stocked with a selection of Dominican cigars like Fuente and Padron as well as Cuban cigars.

SIQAR humidor Saigon Cuban cigars

The Saigon Cigar Club has a full selection of whisky and Cuban cigars.

whiskey and Cuban Cigars

Women are welcome at cigar lounges, too.

Cigars and women in Saigon Vietnam

One life. Enjoy!

IMG_7776

For more information, check out SIQAR on Facebook and the Saigon Cigar Club’s website.

Do you smoke cigars?

If so, what’s your favorite cigar?

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Living Vietnam

Enjoying the Beaches of Hội An, Vietnam

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The “motorcycle gang” started off in Huế en route to Hội An, and the trip was worth it. Hoi An was one of the most beautiful cities I’ve visited. The weather was cool and breezy.

Wikipedia will tell you all the high-brow facts of Hoi An. For example, “Hội An is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Hội An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century.”

We came for the beaches, custom suits, and swag bags.

I’ve been to many of the world’s best beaches like Cabo and Miami, and of course I lived in Los Angeles for over a decade.

While there isn’t a party scene, the beaches of Vietnam are equally beautiful.

Hoi An Vietnam beach

Check out this coastline.

hoi an beach

You can also shop for custom suits and leather travel bags in Hoi An.

 I had food poisoning and didn’t get a suit made, unlike these two handsome men.

custom suits hoi an vietnam

I’ll be back later in the year for a custom tailor job.

I was able to pick up a handmade leather bag.

In “money see, monkey do” fashion, all four of us bought a leather travel bag.

leather travel bag

You got a problem, bro?

cow hoi an

Old Town Hoi An by day.

old town hoi an boats

Old Town Hoi An by night.

old town hoi an at night

Looking at city lights reflecting off of the water while enjoying a cool breeze is one of life’s simple pleasures.

old town hoi an lake night

We stayed at the Alma Courtyard in Hoi An. The stay included a huge breakfast spread and a massage.

The view of Alma Courtyard during the day.

Alma Courtyard Hoi An Vietnam

Time to unwind.

alma courtyard hoi an at night

It’s a long and winding road.

long and winding road hoi an

Some travel by oxen.

oxen hoi an

Others by boat.

boats hoi an vietnam

And still others travel by bike.

scooter hoi an vietnam

By the way, I enabled comments. You’re welcome to post any comments or questions below.

You can also check out my other websites.

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Living Vietnam

What’s it Like Living in Saigon, Vietnam

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When you tell people you’re moving to Vietnam, they look at you like you’re crazy. Aren’t you afraid of crime and stuff and won’t you miss living in the United States?

Fortunately for me, all of my friends already know I’m off the reservation and no one gave me any static about the move.

People are asking me, “What’s it like living in Vietnam?”

Vietnam is a geographically diverse country. Like California, you can go out to an exotic nightclub, enjoy great dining, or chill at the beach.

I’ve been visiting as many of Vietnam’s great towns and cities as possible, and even took a several hours motobike ride down the coast.

Thus far I’ve been to:

  • Phong Nha – a national park with Jurassic park like scenery.
  • Nha Trang (entry forthcoming) – a beach town with cool sea breezes and a chill vibe.
  • Hoi An (Motorbiking from Hue to Hoi An) – a beach town where you can also get custom suits made.
  • Hanoi – full of hippies and backpackers.
  • Saigon – I live here!

I’ve set up residence in Ho Chi Minh City (also called Saigon).

Saigon is a major metropolitan area with 8 million people. You can find anything in Saigon, as illustrated in a day in the life of Mike Cernovich.

  • Wake up in 3-story mansion in quiet, almost rural area.
  • Go to cafe with large tables, great coffee, great breakfast, and excellent wifi.
  • Get a massage. (Happy endings are less common than you’d think; those types of massage parlors are in the backpacker district, which I avoid.)
  • Hit the gym. (Vietnamese gyms are lacking in the heavy weight department, as dumb bells top off at 80 pounds. But the gyms are spacious and clean)
  • Grab a fresh-pressed beet-and-carrot juice for some post-workout recovery.
  • Stop by supermarket for food or anything else needed at home.

Nearly half of the 8 million people living in Saigon are under 35, giving the city a youthful vibe. (NY Times, “36 Hours in Ho Chi Minh City.”)

That energy is felt in the cafe scene, which runs deep. (James Clark, “The incredible cafe scene of Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam.”)

This looks like a cozy living room. It’s actually Cucuta Coffee, one of Saigon’s incredible cafes.

Mike Cernovich coffee

An English breakfast in Vietnam.

English breakfast Saigon

Meet the chefs.

street food Saigon

You can find street food to cook yourself.

IMG_6753

Or you can enjoy some sashimi at an elegant Japanese fusion restaurant.

sashimi Saigon

Which Cuban cigar would you like to enjoy after dinner?

Cuban cigar Saigon Vietnam

Some call me a douchebag. I call myself a man who enjoys life.

Mike Cernovich cigar

 

I’ll be writing more about Saigon in the coming weeks.

This is a huge city with several different districts, each of which have their own character.

Feel free to post any questions or comments you have in the comments below.

P.S. If you like these travel pics, check out Mike Cernovich’s Instagram.

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