Vietnam… a southern island paradise.

Wow, I have really been procrastinating.  This post has taken us (I made Ethan work on it too) a month to finally finish.  Don’t expect too much though.  🙂  I’m not going to make any promises but I really want to get more consistent at posting. Smaller posts would probably be more manageable.

On the last half of our Christmas Vietnam trip, we went to an island off the south western coast called  Phu Quoc. This was our tropical getaway from the snow and wind in Korea.  We had 4 days to kill in paradise and planned on soaking up as much sun as we could to hold us over for the  long winter that we’d be returning to.
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We walked by this cafe multiple times and thought it was abandoned.   However, in the later sunset pictures, we found it to be open serving cold beer and tea with tables lining the narrow sidewalk.

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All these pictures are from a stroll we took on the beach just outside of our hotel.  That’s our hotel in the background.

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We checked into our hotel around noon, ate lunch soon after and then were off on our island tour.  Our first stop was at a pearl farm.  There were pearls everywhere on this island!  It was incredible to see a pearl come straight from an oyster and learn about all the different colors they come in.

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We then headed to a beach on the southern part of the island.  Sadly, it was late in the day so we missed the prime sun time.  I borrowed some of Amanda’s photos again.  She captured some fun ones on the beach and we then ordered some drinks and played cards.

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The above photos are from the night market that was just down the street from our hotel.  We strolled through there a few times and found lots of treasures in the shops.  The dog, that is in the first picture, is just an example of the numerous dogs we saw all over the island.  Apparently, they breed this type of hunting dog.  They  were quite cute and social.  There was also an array of seafood everywhere.  In that one display we captured, there is shark, squid, prawn, sea urchin, clam, toad, and much more!  One night we enjoyed dinner from one of the vendors.  I saw crab on the menu but there was no price so I asked how much.  The waiter was kind of flustered and then came back with a live crab and told me it was 60,000 dong (just under $3) for him.  Pretty soon I had Mr. Crab on my plate.

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Yes, this is a child’s seat just straddling the scooter.

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The majority of people who live on this island are fisherman.  I was fascinated by all the colors, shapes and sizes of the countless boat.  I did my best to capture as many as I could.

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Our second day on the island, we headed out on an all day fishing and snorkeling tour.  We stopped first at a floating house to pick up some fresh seafood.  Lunch was provided but if we wanted any extra goodies we could buy them from the locals.  The little guy in the picture above was real cute until I pulled out my camera…he really hated that.  The crew of the boat also picked up some sea urchin to sell for a dollar a pop.  He cleaned and prepared them right off the back of the boat.

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We then got to our first fishing stop and put in our high tech 😉 fishing equipment.  Sadly, once again no luck for the Lagerquist’s.  Amanda, on the other hand, snagged a little fishy.  Not sure if it was cooked up for lunch or not.

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We finished up fishing and then picked out our snorkeling equipment.  The first snorkeling stop was  a reef off the coast a little bit.  We didn’t see many fish but tried to enjoy the gorgeous landscape surrounding us.

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After snorkeling for awhile, we then were served a lunch prepared by the crew.  Yes, we had to try the sea urchin.  I had one that was cooked and Ethan tried both cooked and raw.  Thankfully, there wasn’t much sea urchin meat to enjoy, so I didn’t mind it.

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This little village reminded us of a pirates cove.   It was so picturesque; I felt like it was a movie set. 

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Don’t mess with  the Vietnam Marine Police.

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Big barrels of fish sauce.  They use this in most of their dishes.  It smelled real fishy!

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Playing cards under a cabana on the beach.  This is the life!

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Fresh mangos, my favorite!

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Greasy pizza, beachside, perfect combo.  Not really. It isn’t exactly swimsuit food, but it was delicious.

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We originally booked a 2 night tour on the island and then had 3 days to kill before going back to Korea.  After all the traveling we had already done, we decided we wanted to stay put and enjoy as much island life as possible.  However, the island was at 95% capacity so we had to find new accommodations to stay at.  Our travel agent found us something but couldn’t seem to tell us how many stars it was.  She just said,”It is the only place available.”  Fine.  Well, let’s just say it couldn’t be rated.  We had dirty towels, got locked when we came back at 11pm, and had no electricity or water for a shower on our last day before traveling back.  Also, one night we found this little friend on the wall of our bathroom.  It took throwing a shoe to knock him off the wall then smashing him twice (he revived at one point) to get the job done.  Made for a skin crawling night under the small fleece blanket we shared.  Here is a little video we took of our room.  This video makes  the room look fairly clean but I’m not sure if they ever actually cleaned these rooms.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3h2Bq8QIS8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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Traditional Vietnamese coffee brewing.  It was so strong!

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Cheap scooter ride up the coast.  These dirt roads were a great way to get bronzed.  Only problem was the glasses line around our eyes.
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This picture doesn’t do the red dirt justice.  It turned E’s facial hair red and accumulated in the wrinkles.

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A traditional Vietnamese hot-pot.  We had a gorgeous view of the ocean.

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This was our last night on the island.  The harbor was just so colorful and full of life.  I especially loved capturing this little boy fishing.

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Bikes hardly ever had just one person on them.

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The beach and ocean were full of people.  I caught a series of kids jumping off the cliffs pictured earlier from our hotel beach walk.

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We watched this little guy go from being the cute little kid splashing around to a little streaker. 🙂   SONY DSC

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This kid caught Ethan’s eye. He was cute too!

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These little guys snuck around the fence behind us and were trying to talk to us with the little English they knew.  E managed to round them all up and get them in the pictures we were posing for.  They were super excited about the attention we were giving them.  SONY DSC

More nudity. If you look closely, you can see at least 2 other streakers.  People watching was so much fun (not because of the nudity).

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Our last beach sunset.  The next day we got a little more beach time before our 4 0’clock flight.

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We tried to soak in as much sunshine before going back to frigid Korea.  However, we ended up getting more than our fair share and had an uncomfortable, stinky, greasy, sunburnt 15 hour travel ahead of us (the water at our hotel wasn’t working).

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We had a few hours to kill in Ho Chi Minh before our New Year’s Eve flight at 12:30am.  We enjoyed some coffee, traffic and people watching and the boys had some celebratory cigars.

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Bringing in 2013, airport style.  Happy New Year!  We were pretty pooped, stinky, and sunburnt. However, it was an incredible trip and I would definitely recommend Ha Long Bay and Phu Quoc, Vietnam as beautiful, unique and cultural vacation spots.  We are excited for many more travel excursions to come!  Thanks Derik and Amanda for being such great travel partners!  Again, check out  their blog for more stories from our trip!

http://derikandamandagrove.wordpress.com/category/vietnam/

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