Phu Quoc Island – old friends and new adventures

From Chau Doc, it was a short three hour journey on a local bus to Ha Tien and a moto transfer to the Superdong ferry. This is the best ferry in the world because:

  • It’s called Superdong
  • It plays Charlie Chaplin silent movies continuously. 
  • Do you need another reason?

Arriving and avoiding the minibus, moto and taxi drivers, we boarded the local bus that we knew existed, despite their best intentions to tell us it didn’t, and got to Duong Dong, the main town. We found a little guesthouse a bit off the beach and planned to meet James and Lois to discuss how to spend our next few days in paradise. 

  

Reunited after 18 months
 
Our conclusion, agreed over a beer at their far flashier hotel, was that the best way to do it was rent motorbikes for the time we were there and explore the islands beaches and attractions. Motorbikes are the best way to get around Vietnam and given that everyone here rides one and the roads are full of them, actually a pretty safe way to travel.  

And so we spent four days exploring the island, seeing some stunning beaches, riding some great roads, eating fantastic sea food. 

On one memorable excursion, we drove a dirt road to a stream, which we then clambered up to a series of small waterfalls. Clearly this was a place for groups of Vietnamese families and mates to hang out and drink. We found ourselves an instant attraction, posing for photos with a family, sharing their food and drinking beer with them. When they left, we were latched upon by a group of Vietnamese guys who had clearly been on the rice liquor for a while, which they were quick to offer us, along with the snails they were eating. It would have been rude to refuse, but they seemed shocked at Andrew and James’s refusal of continued rice liquor on the grounds of driving a motorbike. 

Lads lads lads!

As they spoke no English, and we spoke no Vietnamese, we conversed by jumping into the stream and having water fights, swimming races and, bizarrely, a group round of Rock Paper Scissors. Drunk as skunks, they accompanied us back, two to a bike and one on a bicycle being pushed along by another motorbike. 
We also, on the same trip, managed two separate encounters with the local snake population. The first, Andrew managed to kick while not looking where he was walking, and it shot off into the bushes. Lesson learned, watch where you walk! The second fell straight from a tree next to the waterfall and shot straight towards us in the water, before speeding past and heading up another tree. That’s when we were offered the beer – we probably looked a little shocked!

We made friends with Hao, the owner of James and Lois’s hotel, who didn’t seem to mind that we were constantly using their pool and bar area without being guests. Top bloke. One night, he sourced us a litre of rice liquor and a litre of banana whisky for about $5USD. What had been planned as a tasting degenerated quickly, as they don’t lend themselves to anything but shotting. Hao quickly brought out a game of Battleshots, much like the game Battleships but with shots (we will definitely be finding/making/importing one of these!). With too much rice/banana whisky in our veins, the four of us headed to a local (and pretty seedy) night club called the Pirate Cave with Hao, his girlfriend and his head waiter. We’ll leave that one there. 

A night out sampling some local delicacies!

Andrew and James don’t do well at sitting still on the beach, so inevitably the peace descends into a competition to perform the most outrageous stunt in the sea, a noble pursuit. This culminated in pier jumping on Long Beach, an activity which soon attracted nearly thirty local school kids to join in. We spent a couple of hilarious hours throwing them off, being pushed in, attempting (and failing) backflips and ending our ultimate stunt contest with a pair of rather painful pancake landings.

  

Sadly, our holiday from our holiday (none of you will believe or sympathise, but constantly being on the go and seeing new places is actually quite exhausting) came to an end and we were back on the long trip to Ho Chi Minh, where we had unfinished business!

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