Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 5 - Phu Quoc Island - Another day in paradise

Up at dawn again and a quick breakfast at the inn - a couple ice-milk-coffees and something they call an "egg and ham omelette" - very nice.

Then we rent 2 motor-bikes for the entire day for about $5.00 each. Long starts out with Derek and Ethan, and I have sue behind me, but we switch shortly and I carry Ethan w me for most of the day. We head out early morning on a fantastic scenic excursion from Du'ong Dong (where our resort is) and explore the southern tip of the island. For about the first hour the road is very rough, dirt, bumpy and it takes full concentration to avoid hitting pot-holes and bouncing Ethan off the bike. Turns out he is a skilled rider and has no problems at all even w big bounces. Still, I need to keep one eye carefully on the road, one eye on the beautiful Phu Quoc Jungle, and another eye on Ethan in my rear-view mirror to make sure he is still sitting behind me.

Our first stop is at a small pearl farm - we are the ONLY people there, and they open up the one-room museum for us. The highlight here was a small monkey that was the pet of the owner. We played w the little monkey (who was on a leash) and he seemed very friendly and curious, and was only interested in our packs! His little hands would very adroitly immediately unzip zippers and undo snaps to reach inside and grab whatever he could. He managed to grab Sues wallet (and the owner laughed and said, "we've only been working on that trick for a few days", but he dropped it when he was tossed a tomato. Stupid Monkey! He could have bought many tomatoes with the money he had just relinquised! We also all enjoyed a huge bowl of taro and papaya ice-cream. Very refreshing.

Back on the bikes. The traffic here is very light compared to saigon of course, but still quite adventurous. They have a funny rule regarding right-of-way here - Bigger Wins. So in practice what this means is while we are riding on the 1 lane bumpy dirt road, and an on-coming construction (or maybe military?) truck comes barreling towards us, he doesn't even bother honking. He is dead center in the lane, going quite fast, and we have a simple choice of swerving off the road into the even bumpier "shoulder" or he will run us over. We choose to swerve off the road.

Fortunately we are still "bigger" than bicycles and pedestrians, so we can take our our frustration by forcing THEM off the road. HA

Next stop Bai Sao Beach, which ancient legend has it that this beach was voted by Time Magazine as one of the 10 most beautiful undiscovered beaches in the world. It is amazingly remote and peaceful. We take an even bumpier dirt road to the beach and have a nice drink and snack at a tiny little "restaurant" - We spend a little time here and then back on the road.

By this time the road is now paved which is a great luxury. We head to the famous Phu Quoc Waterfalls-which are fantastic cascading falls over rocks, sort of like great falls maryland? The falls are deep within the tropical jungle overhang so it is very cool and the water is also cool, unlike the ocean which must be 80 degrees.

While walking along the rocks and paths I am taken back to some of my fondest memories playing in the local woods and creeks at my Grandmother's house in Delaware. I remember the hot humid summers and jumping from rock to rock w my sister or some neighbor kids. Very very nice time.

By now it is noon-ish and we are fairly road-weary. Also, the white shirt and white golf-cap I decided to wear was not the best choice, as they are both caked w the famous red dirt/sand/clay of Phu Quoc. No Problem! We get back into town and enjoy a nice local lunch along w an ice-cold Saigon beer. Nothing better. Then home for maybe the most enjoyable shower I ever had, followed by a fantastic nap for us all.

Up around 5:00 and we still have the bikes so we scooter into the Night Market for shopping (mostly trinkets and junky jewelry and the boys buy a few things. I have a great BBQ dinner of pork ribs and another Saigon beer. Little more walking around, then home to hit the hay early as always and prepare for tomorrow.

New Food Checklist
Vietnamese Banana (little tiny fat banana), score :)
BBQ Wild Boar, score :)
VN bitter melon, score :(
Dragon Fruit,score :[
Eel, score DID NOT TRY :)
Snails,score DID NOT TRY :)
VN sandwich,score :)
Leechee fruit,score :| to :)
Crazy VN leaf sort of like spicy-mint,score :)
VN chili sauce (but be careful),score :)

Tomorrow we try to find the world-famous (?) Phu Quoc Pepper Farms :) and Fish-Sauce Factor :{