Christmas and New Year are over and our daughter, son in law and son have flown back two to Hong Kong one to London.
I took Christmas off from blogging but planned to return to blogging before the New Year, however the internet connection has let me down and only today do we seem to have anything remotely like a decent connection.
We flew into Phu Quoc a week last Monday to the new “International” airport that has been built halfway along Long Beach which is where all the tourist development is. 10 minute taxi ride and the Paris Resort hove into view. The plan was to stay until Jan 7th and then head off again but Phu Quoc has kind of caught our fancy. Whenever I write that I’m reminded of the Remington shaver ad of the late 1970’s with Victor Kiam saying ” I liked the shaver so much , I bought the company” apparently it was one of the most successful TV campaigns ever and I guess that is why I still still remember the catch phrase. So we are now here till Feb 1st when the Tet holiday starts and lasts for 9 days. Everything here is full for the holiday so the plan is to head back to Saigon then as the city is empty (everyone is at the beach).
Phu Quoc is relatively unspoilt for Vietnam and apart from the road from the airport every other road is packed earth rather than tarmac.
The hotels stretch down Long Beach and the beach is dotted with sea food joints selling shrimp, squid and local fish. Everything is more expensive that Mui Ne or even Saigon but it has a rustic charm that Mui Ne lacked and dare I say there are far far fewer Russians here. In Mui Ne I was constantly reminded of A.A. Gill’s remark about how he felt the people of certain nations should “get out more” to improve their sociability but that “when the Russians do you rather wished they hadn’t ” !
The Paris Resort is a couple of steps up from a backpacker place but cheaper than the other large hotels on the strip. A French guy and his Vietnamese wife run it and give it an homely feel as they are always around chatting to customers and helping out. They are surrounded by eager but amateur staff all falling over each other which we have got used to here in Vietnam.
Phu Quoc itself is about 50 kms long and 27 kms wide and apart from Long Beach the other beaches are harder to get to and more deserted so they say.
There is plenty of development going on now with several high rises being built and just past the airport there is planned an almost Dubai styled complex of hotels, villas and shops. So the ” International” tag on the domestic airport will no doubt come into its own. Any money on when the first Russian charter from Moscow will touch down ?
So we thought stay and enjoy it while it is still relatively unspoilt though quite how logistically they intend to build this huge complex on an island miles from anywhere is anyone’s guess.
Still let me quickly cover the usual stuff from the Paris Resort.
The view from the breakfast table
then the view down the beach which here includes the iconic leaning palm tree so necessary in every travel brochure
and finally the view from my bed chair
I know, but someone has to be here. Still you can see why we are staying longer can’t you?
We have now survived not one but two gala dinners. These are compulsory affairs and perhaps unsurprisingly were both exactly the same. Same food, same table cloths same everything. I think I would prefer that they just added US$25 to the bill rather than put everyone through the gala dinner but that is just me. I am as I have said no great fan on “the buffet” and this is especially true when they are attended by other than British and North Americans. Americans probably out do Brits now in their standing in line culture but both nations seem to do it rather well .We stand stoically in line and shuffle forward toward the laid out dishes. We accept as our lot when the person in front scoops up the last of a particular dish we had our heart set on and move on to other dishes without complaint.
This is not so when other nationalities are concerned . These people have no concept of a queue nor the etiquette involved in being in one. Plates are seized, children are trampled as they then fight for the dish they want. Whole trays of food are emptied onto single plates, shed loads of food is carried triumphantly back to their already heaving reserved tables and the Brits are left with whatever remains after the shock troops have gone. On neither occasion did I get near the fish BBQ which seemed to be a French reserve nor did I see a glimmer of the meats which was in the German area of influence but the bread and rice were nice.
Let’s hope the internet is now back but I won’t hold my breath. Hopefully chat to you again tomorrow and a very happy new year to you all.