Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 16 - Rach Gia to Phu Quoc Islands

Another early morning to get onboard the "Superdong III" to the Phu Quoc Islands. I think I'm going to be waking up early for the majority of this trip, which will be different than during my bout of unemployment prior to traveling. There's no way I'll ever snooze over 15 minutes though, or else I'll lose out on something, whether it be time, money, or just traveling experience.

The "Superdong III" was a newish boat that went pretty fast. The whole trip took about 2 hours I think, and most of the passengers were Vietnamese locals who were probably heading to the islands on vacation. Upon boarding, you are bombarded with Vietnamese music played over a slideshow of the sights to see on the Phu Quoc islands. Once the boat left the dock, the whole cabin was shown "The Gods Must Be Crazy" on the televisions - very random. I've never seen the movie before, and I couldn't hear anything through the television, and I was half asleep, but I was trying to figure out if the movie was racist or not. It looked like a funny movie that I'd want to watch though.

Once we arrived at the islands, we were again greeted by a swarm of taxi and motorbike drivers trying to get our business. My friends told me that everytime they took transportation near an airport or bus stop, they would soon realize that they were overcharged. We tried to get away from the pier and walk into the city to get a better deal, but there wasn't a "city" in the vicinity, so we had to settle for a driver's incessant attempts at getting us to hire him. We were able to lower the price by 10,000 dong though. My friends had information on some cheap bungalows in the area, and we drove to them, able to bargain for a room to share for $15 a night. Another good deal, right next to the beach, with our own porch and 2 hammocks. It would look like a relaxing time on a beach island indeed.

It was raining and overcast all day today, so it would be a relaxing recovery day in our bungalows. I spent most of the time resting and updating this blog. We went to the local restaurant next door for dinner and talked a little about the differences in Health Care in the UK vs. US. Public healthcare in the U.K. is paid for through taxes, although you can opt for private services at a cost. My two friends were from London, and apparently, everyone from London hates every English person who lives outside of London, and vice versa I think... I also learned a little about the travel culture in the U.K. Most students have a "gap" year between high school and university where they decide to travel either in South America, India, or Southeast Asia. My two friends got loans from their parents and got a job prior to save a little cash to go on these trips. They live pretty frugally on the trip and bargain like crazy, but I see from their experience that it really is possible to travel while you are young and not experienced in the workforce. I don't think most people in the U.S. believe that. I certainly wouldn't have believed I could afford a trip to SE Asia, but now I think it is possible for anyone, with just a couple thousand bucks. The biggest expense is the plane ticket, but if you can get that covered, you could probably survive off $15 a day. My two friends were travelling for 3 months!

The night ended after 4 bottles of beer each, and a couple rounds of "Shithead." Relaxing day indeed.

Superdong III

A view from our front porch

Low season - complete seclusion

Relaxing on a rainy day

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