We arrived in Phu Quoc yesterday. Phu Quoc is a small island a bit west of HCMC in southern Vietnam. I wasn’t totally sure of what to expect as some of the comments I had read about the island weren’t totally flattering. However, it didn’t take long to realize that this place is going to be really nice. The weather is good, the ocean is a fantastic temperature and the water is very clear: I swam out about 100m an could still clearly see the bottom. To top things off, the sand is super deep and soft bit not powdery enouh that it makes a mess of everything. Apparently some people don’t like the beach here that much – the sand is brown instead of white and the water is green instead of turquoise. It boggles my mind as to how some people think.
The trip here from HCMC was uneventful. Both kids managed to travel a few hours without puking. HCMC itself was interesting for a short visit. Highlights included spending an afternoon at a huge water park and eating a couple of meals at Pho Quynh. The water park trip was for the kids but they had a few rides there that were for adults only (I didn’t go on them). One was called the Kamikazee, and consisted of two near vertical 10m drops with a slightly flat spot in between. It was the kind of thing that would never be approved for use in Canada. I saw a few people land at the bottom of a slide beside it that wasn’t as steep, and they were absolutely flying. The bottom pool of the Kamikazee slide had walls and padding all over the place nowhere near the end of the slide, which gave me a good indication of what happens to people when they get to the bottom. As for the Pho Quynh restaurant, it was 20m from our hotel and only served Pho Bo. It was agreed by all four of us that it had the best tasting pho we’ve had. Grady gave it a 2 thumbs up with his tongue sticking out. I think that means it was good.
So far so good, we’ve managed to make it to the airport in one piece. Grady was touch and go for a bit, he was passing out on the skytrain. We finally got to our gate and wham! There is a kids play area. Result: 2nd wind at midnight.
Next stop will be Hong Kong a 13hr flight, a 3hr layover and then maybe 3hrs to Hanoi.
I was really sad to learn this morning that a road is being built to Jomsom. Jomson is in the Nepal Himalaya and is part of the famous “Annapurna Circuit,” which I was lucky enough to visit in 1991. I suppose that it is entirely logical that Nepal shouldn’t stay in medieval times – and believe me, Nepal is very medieval in many ways – but I’m not sure how much help the road will offer the people.
On the surface, the road seems like a good idea. Easy transport of people, goods and supplies, it moves products to market. On the other hand, I wonder how much tourism may be lost because of the road. From the article linked above, it’s likely not much and in fact it may increase. I wouldn’t be surprised if record numbers of Indian tourists and pilgrims are attracted to a more accessible region.
In any event, roads are inevitable. The trek from Besisahar to Manang will also be compromised at some point, and that will be an even sadder occasion. One can only hope that as time progresses in Nepal, that eco-friendly roads and construction will be applied in an effort to have the best of both worlds.
Click on the map below to see the area around the Annapurna Circuit:
Here is a photo of mine that was taken around the Jomsom area:
To follow a portal/walkthrough of my trek in Nepal, click here and hover your mouse over the photos to click to the next one in the series.
There, I’ve finished scanning and uploading all of my
photos good photos from my Nepal trip.
For some brief discussion on the portals that I used for the Nepal photos, check out the zooomr blog.
Follow the portals, starting from the picture in this post about my Nepal photos.