Being particularly brief, given recent computer problems, Phu Quoc was exactly what a tropical island should be, small, isolated, with dirt roads and few tourists. Unfortunately, it was also what a tropical island is, and this meant our first full day was one where it rained non stop for about 10 hours.
Our place of choice was a no-frills, mid level bungalow, or as anna called it, a low cost resort. Granted it was a bungalow, as it had a thatched roof, but also then had air conditioning, a tv, and solid walls. Our second day, a day full of activity, had us take a boat trip to the south of the island. This was first to visit some of the tiny islands off of the coast and spend a couple hours snorkeling. As this was our first time snorkeling in coral reefs, it was a fantastic, beautiful experience, seeing all sorts of tropical fish directly in front of you, as well as giant sea urchins, not to mention the brightly colored green, orange, and purple corals themselves. Unfortunately, after some conversation with some of the other tourists on the boat, it turns out the reefs are actually in quite poor condition, and consistently getting worse. This is something we saw first hand, from a mix of both inexperience, general indifference, and drive for the mighty dollar, as most of the wealthy vietnamese tourists, and some of the foreign ones as well, repeatedly stepped directly on the underwater fauna. This was perhaps our first experience with the vietnamese rich, and it was also quite an experience. Given the recent possibility of being Vietnamese and being rich, theirs was quite an unusual approach to wealth, and not quite like those posh chinese we saw in places like Shanghai. First off, when we first got on our bus to go to the port to get on the boat, we were unsure if we were all going to the same destination, or if the vietnamese were instead going to be taken to the airport, given their attire. All of them, but particularly the women, were all dressed up, one wearing rings and pearls and another looking, in annas words, ready to go clubbing. Second, all but one of them knew how to swim, or perhaps had ever been in water before, and as such was quite a funny sight to see these proud, boastful people waddling in life jackets, yelping at the first sight of any fish. Of course none of them wanted the snorkeling gear and satisfied themselves with a quick dip with goggles. I could go on for quite a while, but it may be best summed up as calling them 'Chinese light', in maintaining many similar characteristics to their wealthy northeastern counterparts, but to a slightly more subdued level. After fishing(where i was the only foreigner to catch a fish, and the biggest one of the boat at that), and some more swimming and snorkeling, we returned to land and went to the pristine beach of Bai Sao, the most idyllic one even for Anna's lofty standards. Alas we were only there for a short time, and made our way back to the hotel before sunset. Sunsets were our second preferred moment of the trip to phu quoc, with our bungalows only a few meters from the surf, and with the water warm enough to splash around in those minutes
that the sun sank behind the watery horizon. Finally, the food is, as usual, worth mentioning, of being of an extremely high level, with Phu Quoc known for the best fish sauce in Vietnam(which along with bicycles is attributed to giving the Vietcong the victory in the war over the Americans), and the best peppers in the region, comparable to those of the cambodian post, and I did have the best peppery sauces of my life in these days.
A specific meal worthy of mention is a trip to the city night market, where we had BBQ(again), but this time with all of the possible sea and land life displayed at the entrance of every open-air restaurant, in the middle of the bustle of the market itself. The island will not last in its current shape for very long, however, as a new international airport is being constructed as we speak, and easily, in five years, it will become the vietnamese
Phuket, so as a woman who quit her job in a hotel in Saigon to move there, its best to take advantage of it while you can.