Best Kind of Lost

Best Kind of Lost

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A Proper Vietnamese Send-Off, Served Sandy-Side Up

by Noelle
December 21 – 24

 

Our great escape from the bustling noise of Ho Chi Minh City came in the form of an (thankfully uneventful) overnight bus and ridiculously choppy ferry ride (the plastic baggies they passed out to every passenger soon identified their purpose) (EDITOR’S NOTE: Never in my life have I seen and – more repulsively – heard so. many… well, you know what I mean. It’s a ride that I would love to, but likely will never be able to forget.) and was rewarded with a few lazy, insanely beautiful days on the beautiful island of Phu Quoc.

Island Arrival copyThe largest island in Vietnam, this sandy oasis is located off the southwestern coast of the country, and just 12k from the Cambodian coast, it also made convenient our imminent move to our next SE Asian country. In fact, the island suffers an identity crisis due to both Vietnam and Cambodia staking a historical claim to it and the surrounding waters (some Cambodians still consider it their territory – and geographically, we see their point).  Nonetheless, border control (our main audience of concern at the time) considered it our final stop in Vietnam and we arrived in the island town of Duong Dong midday, ready to get our tan on.

Boats copy

Colorful fishing boats crowd the narrow waterway (EDITOR’S NOTE: Not pictured here is the man dumping an entire bucket full of trash directly overboard into the river. Because apparently that’s just how things are done here.)

They don't know about my inner radar.

They don’t know about my inner radar.

With the past few months of Asian travels finally catching up with us, we made these last-minute plans to finish our time in our beloved Vietnam by stretching our pho-stuffed, vendor-weary, tired bodies on the warm sand for a full 72 hours before Vietnam made us leave (our visas expired on Christmas Eve or you’d still find me beachside eating fresh pineapple and mangoes by the pound while the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand lapped at my feet. I mean – IT’S CHRISTMAS PEOPLE – WHERE’S YOUR HOLIDAY SPIRIT??).

Here it is. I packed it in my carryon beyotches.

Here it is. I packed it in my carry-on beyotches.

I don’t have a whole lot else to say about our time on this piece of paradise, so I’ll keep it short.

During the day, we did a lot of this:

Toes (almost) in the water, ass in the sand.

Toes (almost) in the water, ass in the sand.

#imarriedthepoolboy

#imarriedthepoolboy

For real.

For real.

A fruity lunch served by the fastest gun pineapple knife in the west east.

A fruity lunch served by the fastest gun pineapple knife in the west east.

More fruit exploration in the forms of jackfruit (top) and lycees (bottom).

More fruit exploration in the forms of fleshy yellow jackfruit (top) and bright prickly rambutans (bottom).

Banana wrapped in sticky rice were sold from stands around the town. Dave ate approximately 17 of these in 3 days.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: A banana and sticky rice walk into a bar onto a grill… At just a quarter a pop, I ate about 17 of these during our 3 days on the island. They were everywhere, and they were delicious.)

A look up the coast as the light fades.

A look up the coast as the light fades.

Then at dusk approached, we settled in to watch these (you too should settle in):

Please note that no filters were harmed in the making of these photos.

Please note that no filters were harmed in the making of these photos.

There it goes.

There it goes.

Still going.

Still going.

Seriously! No filter!

Seriously! No filter!

Okay fine. Last one. Unbelievable.

Okay fine. Last one. Unbelievable.

Then after the sun sank to rise again over our friends and family back home, we headed to the  incredible Night Market – pretty much the only game in town – and hand-picked fresh seafood to hold the honor of our evening’s meal that looked something like this:

Red snapper hot off the grill.

Red snapper hot off the grill.

Night Market copy

Entering the alley of the magical Night Market.

Tables on the right, grills on the left. Well-oiled machine.

Tables on the right, grills on the left. Well-oiled machine.

Tables on the right, grills on the left. Well-oiled machine.

Table after table of the day’s fresh offerings.

Live fish (crustaceans, amphibians and reptiles welcome) in tanks on display. At one point we saw a snake beheaded and the blood squeezed into the waiting glasses of 4 Englishmen. What?

Live fish (crustaceans, amphibians and reptiles welcome) in tanks on display. At one point we saw a snake beheaded and the blood squeezed into the waiting glasses of 4 Englishmen. What?

Tastes like chicken. If by chicken you mean frog.

Tastes like chicken. If by chicken you mean frog.

Dave negotiating for our first night's catch-of-the-day, barracuda. He was like a kid in a candy store. If you know, candy stores sold slimy, hopping, snaking, clawing treats.

Dave negotiating for our first night’s catch-of-the-day, barracuda. He was like a kid in a candy store. If you know, candy stores sold slimy, hopping, snaking, clawing treats.

Putting another shrimp on the barbie, next to the oysters and snails. WHAT IS THIS PLACE?

Putting another shrimp on the barbie, next to the oysters and snails. WHAT IS THIS PLACE?

What's wrong with this pictures? That's right. Nothing.

What’s wrong with this pictures? That’s right. Nothing.

Where we could be found between sunset and bedtime. So, like 9 pm.

Where we could be found between sunset and bedtime. So, like 9 pm.

Boat selfie copyThat about does it. And it was glorious. What a beautiful, poetic way to end our time in the country that blew us away. We loved every stop of our Vietnam adventure: the street-food haven of Hanoi, stunning Halong Bay, adorable and lantern-lit Hoi An, lazy and delectable Dalat, bustling and exhausting Saigon and finally the peaceful retreat of Phu Quoc.

We’ll meet again, Vietnam. But for now, thanks for the memories.

This post is dedicated to my Pho-addicted partner-in-crime. 4 life. Thanks for taking on Vietnam with me – I’m sorry they made us leave.

Pho Copy

For keepsies.

What do you think?

Please keep your comments polite and on-topic.


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comments

The snake into a glass thing = also happens in mainland China. If you’re a special guest, you get to pick out your own snake. They sometimes drain the blood into some sort of alcohol to kill whatever is in the blood that may be harmful, but let me tell you – something you can certainly pass on :-).

Anna Bartz

January 7, 2014

Well if they had let us pick our OWN snake, then I would have TOTALLY been on board. Okay, maybe not, but it was still fun to watch! I admire your adventurous palate!

noellebauer

January 24, 2014