Another beautiful morning in paradise! However, it wasn’t as early as usual since my adventure the day before had me totally beat. We had planned to return to Saigon with my brother Nhin this day but since we had so much fun, we decided to extend our stay for the week. That required a flight change which cost us significant penalties but it was worth it. So, Nhin, left for Saigon on his own.
We spent the morning relaxing by the pool and beach; had lunch and relaxed some more. It was a recovery day until I told the family of the crazy motorbike ride Nhin and I had the night before. Alice and Magnolia were intrigued by my adventure and they also wanted to see the northern parts of Phu Quoc.
So, it wasn’t too long after lunch that we were at the gas station fueling up for the long ride up the northwestern coastline from Duong Dong. This time, I studied the map much more because I didn’t want a repeat of the night before. Much of the coastline was dense vegetation and the beaches could not be seen from the road. We kept a close eye out for any gap, path or opening to venture further toward shore and finally did. It was a well worn path and unfortunately, also well littered by those before us.
We walked down the path and found an outcropping of rocks outlining the beach. Very sharp and slippery but quite beautiful still. In this exposed position, I really felt the wind howling and smashing up against my back.
We got back on the red dirt road. In spite of the rain the night before, it was relatively dry and easy riding. As we moved northward, it felt like we were climbing in elevation because in some parts, it felt really cold. An hour or so into our drive and as we descended a steep hill, we came upon a clearing. Through the thinning line of trees, there laid a tranquil, lonely beach absent any tourists, saved ourselves. We couldn’t believe it and thought perhaps it was a protect area.
We took our motorbikes through some trees and saw evidence that others had been there. Unfortunately, that evidence was litter. On the positive side, the litter didn’t quite made it to the beach so it didn’t spoil it.
Under the searing sun, all we had for protection was this whimsical monument to civilization made of twigs from those before us. It was so peaceful and the waves lapped gently against the sand.
We swam for about 30 minutes. The water was too warm for my liking, probably because it was very shallow extending well offshore. We tried to catch crabs but none were to be found. Magnolia and I decided to try our hands at trapping minnows by creating sand barriers from runoffs and corralling them into progressively more shallow and smaller water lots. Or that was the theory. No dice there either but it was a great bonding experience for us.
No fish caught but we found a giant Japanese beetle (per Alice) and fresh seashells. It was a wonderful time!
Three hours into our trip and we decided to turn southward. We didn’t want to get caught in the dark. Earlier in our drive, we passed Carole Resort, all tucked behind an unassuming sign that looked like a stone bible. At closer inspection, it was actually a stone guest book.
And once we stepped passed the gate and looked down the hillside, it was impressive. We didn’t expect to see anything like it. There were all these girls (hostesses) walking around and then western music started blaring. It felt awkward at first but as the water came into view, everything was alright once more. More than alright. It was amazing!
We sat down and ordered a few items to eat. It was getting late and we still had another hour of driving to return to the hotel. The wind blew stronger and felt much colder.
We enjoyed our shredded chicken salad served in a banana bulb husk. Very good and the presentation was interesting. However, as we looked toward Duong Dong, it seemed like a storm was brewing in the horizon so we quickly downed our food and rushed out of there.
And unfortunately, we were right. A torrential rainstorm was heading our way and the sky turned dark. Although the rain had been light during our stay, we knew that when it poured, it would pour bucket sized and flash flooding was common. Because of the dark clouds, the sun was totally blocked so it got really dark.
We typically over pack so we were prepared with rain ponchos and sun glasses and masks to help with debris and the bright sun. Not much use this time. Although the ponchos didn’t keep us dry because it was raining too strong, they did help us to keep warm. The rain was quite cold.
With the strong rain, the wind and darkness, I was getting worried. We tried to get some cover under a structure for a time but the rainstorm didn’t abate. Besides the darkness, the rain was so heavy there was no visibility and we couldn’t hear each other talk. We used the motorbike horn to communicate. Fearing that we would be cutoff by flash flooding, we continued pushing south, albeit at a snails pace.
The muddy red dirt road, challenging before, became a serious risk. We had crossed a few small bridges en route and the thought of crossing them in this storm loomed on my mind. However, as we made progress toward the south, the rainstorm was also steadily moving north. With combined velocity, we made fast progress toward the storm’s fringe. The rainstorm became a drizzle.
Our final challenge came in the form of wet roads, darkness and rush hour. But I had done this the night before, minus the rain. I applied that experience to task and got the family home safely and without getting lost. What a day!
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