Sunday, February 15, 2009

When I Was in 'Nam: Take Eight: Paradise in Phu Quoc

I wanted nothing more than to finish off our days in Vietnam in a swimsuit on the beach of an island. So our final destination in Vietnam was Phu Quoc Island: 1320 sq km of mountains, forest, beach and bliss in the Gulf of Thailand.

After an early ferry ride there, we approached the coast with half a day left to enjoy.

And enjoy we did! Oh, to be back in warm, sunny weather with my feet in the sand, a cheap and delicious meal on the table, and great friends in my presence.... sigh.
Since the specifics for where we would be an when were so up in the air, we didn't book any accommodation prior to coming. After going to (and getting denied from) five recommendations of lodging in Lonely Planet and several others our drivers wanted to try (they stopped there and told us to go look), we finally found a place to stay. Negotiating a price took almost more time than getting there. But, it turned out great. It was right on the beach and I was fine with paying next to nothing to have some unexpected guests in my room.

The "hotel".
Unexpected guest... amongst others.
We immediately went to the beach to grub and enjoy what was left of the day. It was all about relaxing, until these women came over and started doing THIS to my leg!
Apparently it's called threading and is the more time effective alternative to plucking. Kristine showed us that it was just as painful an alternative. It was also an alternative I had absolutely no interest in, and instead got the best massage of my life from the lovely ladies.
My favorite time of day on the beach: sunset.

Dinner at Eden.

The next morning while we were waiting (for ages!) to get us some mopeds, the most adorable distractions started crawling out from behind random places outside the hotel. I didn't even care the day was slipping through our fingers, because I had these 'lil guys in my fingers instead. I started devising all these plans for how I could get them back to Japan and defy all apartment contractual obligations and work duties to just spend allllll day playing with my new 'lil pupster.
I didn't in the end (psschh, practicalities!),but I did have googly puppy eyes for quite some time.

70% of the island is forested national park, inaccessible by vehicle, but the coasts all have fun dirt roads you can moped on. And moped we did.

My future accommodation and transportation?
It could work... I could just pick seashells all day with these women.

We spent the day driving and beach hopping, driving and beach hopping. This beach, Bai Sao was the most beautiful in my opinion.

Kristine is creative. Much better than my typical "I Miss You" message in the sand.
I can only hope that someday that will be and my hubby. Someday far, far away.

The manager was a total hard-ass when we first met her. She runs a hard bargain. But, she warmed up to us in the end. Although, she did promise she'd come out with dancing with us on New Year's and never did. I should've demanded a refund for false advertising... and for all the bugs that went to town on me in my room.

The restaurant and bar, Eden, was a few minutes walk away from our hotel and was hosting a big New Years shindig.
We were all set up on the beach at our romantic fashioned table with probably at least 70 other people enjoying the atmosphere and food as well.
Then, this happened. More than once.
Despite the staff's efforts to make it work out there, Mother Nature wasn't having it. Luckily, Eden had a pretty big covered bar and dancing area. The night was a total blast and I didn't even care it ended up taking over two hours for our New Year's Supper.

Great music + great atmosphere + great people = great time.
I refused to miss the last sunrise I could possibly see in Vietnam; even if we were on the west coast.

What a beautiful island and perfect way to end the trip. *Sigh* There I go, sighing again. *Sigh*

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