Sunday, December 1, 2013

Vietnam Vacation: Day Seven

Unlike TLC, we always go chasing waterfalls.
[We had spent the day before we had massages on the beach, checked out a lighthouse with a temple attached, visited the nearby town, and made a new little friend at a bar]

Our seventh day in Vietnam, our third in Phu Quoc, started with a tour of the southern part of the island. We set it up through the night ght ce resort employee we had met on the first day at the Sea Star Resort (I believe his name was Khan). It was not expensive, and we wanted to see some more of the island. I figured a tour would be a nice way to see it.

However, the rain threatened to ruin our fun. The clouds and rain came and went the past two days, but these ones stayed around for nearly our entire tour. Torrents of rain crashed down around us as we jumped onto the shuttle bus and met our guide for the morning. We then set out to pick up a couple of other couples at another resort.


A Three Hour Tour...

First we went to two pearl farms, Quoc An Pearl and Ngoc Hien Pearl Farm. At the first one, we were shown how the pearls are taken from the oysters and learned the basics of pearl farming. Each place had a large gallery to view. The prices ranged from outrageous to affordable, but I did not buy anything. +Jackie is not a fan of pearls at all.

Hiding in the van from the rain outside Coconut Tree Prison Museum

Then came a total change in mood. We visited the Coconut Tree Prison Museum. It sounds kind of silly, I know, but it was depressing. The whole thing reeks of terror. Since the torrents of rain had not stopped, they had actually increased in power, we could not tour the outside area. However, there was still lots to see inside.

Most of the museum is dedicated to the torture and war crimes of the Americans and American-backed forces. On display are, photos of unlivable prison conditions, nails used to torture, and other torture devices (particularly rough: a full-size bed torture rack). The indoor museum itself is rather small, but it is packed full of the horrors of war. It is interesting either way though. And even though I am an American, I did not feel personally attacked by any of the exhibit. It seemed mostly tastefully done. I have heard the war museum in Ho Chi Minh City is much worse.

Even though we were unable to see the outside due to the rain, here is a video I found with some images of that area:



Talk about a downer for our tour... When we left, the rain still poured down. We all got really wet even though our tour guide got us umbrellas. He ran around helping us and did not use an umbrella though. I felt terrible for him. The guy worked so hard and gave us a ton of information. I would not have cared if I did not have an umbrella, but I did not want to say no after he had gone way out of his way to help me stay at least partially dry.

This was not the first time someone from Vietnam had been extremely nice to us. All over the country we had been treated exceptionally well. I had been worried before going that anti-American sentiment would led to a bad time. It simply did not happen to us.

Jackie hanging out at the beach

On the long ride to lunch, we took the opportunity to meet the nice people who were also on the tour with us. One couple was older, one was about the same age as us. Everyone was nice.

We ended up at a resort restaurant on Bai Sao Beach. I did not catch the name. The food was good, but I wanted to get in the ocean for the first time in Phu Quoc. After quickly changing, I jumped in the water. It was sprinkling and it was not crowded. Jackie threw stuff at me so I could try and catch it. I already knew this but water is hard to run in!

Crazy kids! Stop jumping off of waterfalls!
Next we took a long drive to Suoi Tranh. We started off walking through a canopy of trees up a mountain. The hike was pretty easy. It led us to a clearing and a waterfall. People were jumping into the pool below. We were not dressed for swimming, so we only walked on the upper part and hung out for awhile.

At one point, Jackie and I thought the rest of the group had walked on up the mountain, but they had actually walked back to the van. We stayed out there confident we would see them come back down, where we would join and head back together. Because of that idea, we lost track of time and went back late, meeting the rest of the group kind of annoyed we had delayed the trip. Oops.

Jackie's feet in the shallow water

Standing at the edge of the waterfall, photographing other people jumping

We also saw a place where they make local wine. We were supposed to take a tour of the fields, but the rain prevented us from doing it. Instead, we tasted wine and were allowed to buy some if we wanted. The rain started to clear up, but by then we were all tired and wanted to head home. Overall, it was a successful trip, even with all the rain.



Poor doggy...

Our Final Night

Sadly, our time in Phu Quoc began to come to a close. We had one more night still though. Jackie likes Indian food, so we tried the nearby place, Ganesh Indian Restaurant. The food and drinks were great!

Finally, we visited our new favorite bar in Vietnam, Moe's. We hung out with the little girl for a few hours before heading back. We had a flight to Ho Chi Minh and then Seoul in the morning...

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