On The Beach

No, not the Neville Shute novel but a stroll further down Long Beach heading south from the Hotel Paris . That said while in Mui Ne I found tucked away in the shelves of the Villa Aria library a Neville Shute book. It was an old Penguin paperback book and this edition was published in 1968 and at that time sold for 3 shillings and 6 pence or 16P in new money. Clearly in an hotel built just 6 years ago it hadn’t been there since publication so someone recently had bought it from a secondhand bookstore or a charity shop in the UK and then carried all the way to Mui Ne and left it. What stories the book itself could tell and how far it had come before being abandoned. It was a book called the Pied Piper which I personally had never heard of but as it was in excellent condition I sat down to initially glance through it. The book turned out to be an excellent read and I didn’t put it down again till I had finished it. The story is quite a simple one set at the beginning of the Second World War and the characters in the book are of a generation that has now gone from the world with values so different to todays. As just a study of how people have changed it is interesting but the story is good too.

I thought I might download it from Kindle so that my whole family who all seem to be linked to my own personal Kindle account could read it too. I was surprised to read in the blurb on Kindle that is considered his finest book and quite a classic now. The book now sells on Kindle for £8 a copy so it’s not only peoples values that have changed over the years !

So what about the stroll ? Well I wanted to look at the development that continues apace here on Phu Quoc and once past a couple of very large bungalow style hotels full of very large Russians ( it is by the way a fallacy that they don’t come here in numbers) I came across my first new multi floored hotel under construction

New Hotel 1 Phu Quoc
Quite quickly there followed another one

New Hotel 2 Phu Quoc
These two that finish off the Long Beach development and are under the flight path of the new international airport I talked about in a previous post. There are only 5 flights a day at the moment so no real issues with them

Small aircraft lands
But as it grows that will increase and wannabe holiday makers coming here in a few years will need to be careful where they pick to stay as night flights thunder over their rooms in the wee small hours of the morning. Cue a song think

Now regular readers will know that I make great personal sacrifices to bring you news of things about the places I visit and Phu Quoc is no different. To find out more about the tourism industry here I positioned myself on a bar stool at Rory’s Bar on the beach and asked the friendly owner over a beer or several what is it like to be in tourism.

The owner is Chinese Australian and speaks with a very broad Aussie accent . it is quite strange looking a this small very Chinese person who says to you ” good day mate ” . Though vey much a part of the development of the Island she seemed somewhat sad that the small fishing villages that were 6 years ago pretty much all that was here have gone and hotels are busy taking their places. That said she was enthused that on Feb 3rd the Island would finally be connected to the main grid by an underwater cable that has been laid. Electricity prices are four times what they are on the mainland of Vietnam and this she says is the cause of the high prices. Electricity is by far an hotel’s biggest cost here as it is for the bars. Got keep the beers ice cold she said ” if the tinny doesn’t stick to your hand when it come out of the fridge it is Pommy beer she said too bloody warm”. Hang on a Chinese girl calling me a Pom what is the world coming to.

Will prices come down ? I asked, absolutely she said . Well personally I think pigs might fly long before that happens but we shall see.

The other exciting development she told me about after another beer had arrived in front of me ( you see how I sacrifice my poor liver for this blog) is that the Party ( central government ) is thinking of making Phu Quoc visa less . Holidaymakers arriving on the island would not require a visa ( US$45 a pop) as long as they just came here and returned to their country. Checks would be made at the port and the airport for trips to the mainland that the visitor had a visa but otherwise no cost and no hassle with getting one from an Embassy or on arrival.

It was at that point that I was grateful we had come this year to see the developing island. With no visa in place this joint will take off and now I could understand ( though after so many beers I couldn’t get off my bar stool ) why they are planning these two huge developments further south on the island. Villas, hotels, shopping malls, time shares all make sense now.

This by the way is where the first monster is going to be built stretching from here for about 6 miles down the coast and a mile or so inland.

New Town Phu Quoc
Pretty isn’t it and all along this bit of coast are small fishing villages and lots of dense jungle. Soon English footballers and Russian oligarchs will be owning it all instead.

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