It never felt so easy to get up that early in the morning I even woke up before my alarm. Everything is quiet and plunged into darkness. It has some kind of magic – walking tiptoed around the room, where is everybody sleeping and all you can hear is quiet breathing and snoring, packing your stuff and getting ready for another adventure.
Steve and I are amazing team and we got some practise at this stuff. Double checking under the pillows, blankets, beds, all the railings around the beds, lockers – no, nothing left behind, that means it should be all in our packs, right? 😀
Saying goodbye to the lovely people at the reception – the guy looks very tired – no wonder, he was sleeping on the ground right behind the receptionist desk in a white “little tent” made from a mosquito net.
We paid our bill last night, so there is no hassle in the morning, so we just sit around and wait for our pick up. Ohhhh yeaaaah – Orange busses are the best as always.
When we arrive at the bus terminal, we are a bit disappointed, there is no “sleeper bus” for our route, but it isn´t a big deal, as the journey takes only for 3.5 hours, phe – that is nothing! We get comfy with our neck pillows and music in our ears – trying to catch up on sleep. It isn´t easy though, because that stupid driver just loves to beep his horn. I can see his smiling face in the mirror – he is actually enjoying pressing that button.
You remember how I told you, that there are 40 million of scooters, right? Well he is beeping at every single one we pass. EVERY SINGLE ONE! What can I say, we had better trips – but definitely had much worse in our traveling around the world. This bus has seen better days, the aircon seems to have a rough moments too – a while blasting cold air and next time not working at all… Haha nothing to complain about though – those are “our everyday problems” we are more than use to deal with – and I believe you would love to have “our terrible problems”, heh?
We arrive in Rach Gia at 10:30 – it is a quite big city, where we have to get a ferry to the island. We know, that the ferry terminal is a long long away from the bus station and that we will probably have to pay quite expensive taxi to get there. We also know, that we have to get there as soon as possible to be actually able to get the tickets.
When we are getting out of the bus, the bus driver gives me a little piece of paper, which was ripped out from some kind of notebook. I am a bit surprised and reading a note which is nicely written in English. “To get to the ferry terminal use a red minibus – it is FREE! NO TAXI, NO MOTORBIKE!”
Well, here we go – taking our bags from under the bus, looking around and panicking a bit as there are dozens of red minibuses around. Which one is the one we are suppose to take? We are in a crowd of taxi drivers, they are in our faces offering their services and they don´t hear our: “No thank you.” that we repeat all over and over again. Hate them especially in these situations.
“Hey, look – he is waving at us!” I hear excitement and relief in Steve´s voice. And yes – there he is, a little guy in orange shirt, standing in front of the old red minibus – he obviously knows, where we need to go. We rather ask him again, before getting on a board – just to be sure (you never know). Yes!!! That wasn´t that bad at all!
We are going through the center of this city. You can smell the sea salt in the air – and feel the relax and ease of this place. Everything looks a bit happier and more colourful.
We are stopping at some point in from of a little office: “Tickets for the ferry” shouts the driver. So we take all our gear, trying to get out in the line, but the driver is trying to explain, that he will wait for us and that we can leave our stuff here. Wow! I love this company more and more! And yes – the bus keeps waiting, till the last passenger gets a ferry ticket and we can continue in our way. This would never happen in South America – they would leave you there by your own with no transport.
We stop in front of the ferry terminal – imagine large old building with no aircon – so it is scorching hot! Many colourful plastic chairs don´t look very comfortable, but I believe, we will spend some time in here, as there is nothing else around to do.
There are so many tourists around I feel sick 😀 … SO MANY! I can hear a lot of Russian some French, German… and hey – there is a huge group of Czech tourist sipping their beer (at 11am – yeah – they are definitely Czech!). If I am honest, I don’t feel like I want to get along with them, so I stay quiet about me being from the same country…
Tourism here must be a thing, really, because I have to pay for the bathroom (even though the locals don´t pay a penny). I wouldn´t have any issue with that, if there was at least one of the following: toilet paper, light, actual seat, functional flushing or soap. Heh – non of it was present :-D. I can feel the massive tourist trap which is waiting for us at this island!
We realized there is not only one ferry going to this island – not sure how it works, but we see many people leaving the “waiting room” quite early. It is 12:30 pm and most of the people are gone. We had a feeling that we are leaving at 1pm, but when we checked our ticket, there was a time 12:40!!!! OMG!!! So lucky we checked! Quickly packing all our stuff and running towards our ferry. Luckily there are still people getting on, so we have plenty of time. Wow – that could be fun if we missed it! 😀
The ferry is only 2/3 full, which surprises me. We sit next to an older local woman with over-sized baby – who just pooped it´s pants! Yummy smell all around! There are two TV screens in front of the big cabin. There is some ridiculous Vietnamese reality show going on and the volume is so loud, we cannot hear each other. Damn, this will be interesting 2.5 hours.
There is not a chance to get out on any deck or look from the windows as they are too high up. So I am taking my laptop and writing – must tell you, that I am fighting with the English part quite a lot and it is a bit frustrating, but I think of it as an investment into myself and my improvement in English language. Hope it is not that bad… because even though Steve promised he will prove read what I write, it didn´t happen once. So it is all on me…
We both have earphones and cranking music loud into our ears – so we don´t have to listen the terrible program and local people shouting at each other. I think they feel comfortable in this kind of environment as nobody looks like there is anything wrong.
I am starting to feel “the cold” is getting me… My sinuses are getting blocked up and my nose is running so much, I have to have a tissue right by my nose all the time. “Hurray!!!!” That is exactly what I wished for – especially now, when we are finally going to have some beach time. 🙁 So not fair!
Sitting here with a little worry in my head – is the water going to be really blue and crystal clear? How? I saw all the rubbish and the most disgusting rivers going right into this sea!!!
When we finally arrive to the Phu Quoc, we realize that we forgot to download the map of the island, or even check the address of the hostel we booked. Haha – this may be fun! Trying to push through the crowds of passengers and being hit by the incredible heat wave. After the air-conditioned cabin it feels like a big punch into the face. All the haze and pollution disappeared and the blue sky is allowing sunbeams to be even stronger.
Again many taxi drivers shouting at us – they never leave us alone. “You look like a rich tourist.” that is what goes through their heads – I can see it in their eyes. We are ignoring them and pushing our way through and out from this long crowded wharf.
It takes us almost 10mins to get off – that was one big wharf! We are buying some cold drinks in a local store hoping the owners will give us password from their WIFI. Even though the router is dangling around one of the wooden roof poles, they refuse to give us the access. (Bastards!!!)
I can tell, that we are getting amazing in these kind of situations – sweating, hungry, tired, sick, lost – we would probably fight from desperation a few years back. But now? Naaaaah!!! We sit down and finish our cold drink before we start to panic. 😀
And you know what? We bump into a couple of Italians we knew from the ferry (we talked to them for a while) and they have 3G on their phones. WINNERS! They help us to find the address of the hostel and after realizing that it is 9kms away we decide to take a taxi.
Italians don´t even have any bookings, so they jump into the taxi with us – yaaay, sharing the expenses. We are asking them many questions, because we found out, they have been traveling for quite a long time. You know, all the tips and tricks are always very valuable.
When the taxi stops in front of our hostel, I cannot believe it – IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL! It is like a wooden castle! Wow! The employees are welcoming us with a big smiles on their faces, one of them even carry my bag inside. Wow again! This hostel even have an elevator, roof bar, whirlpool, fancy bathrooms like in spas, karaoke, and… THIS IS RIDICULOUS!
When they open the door (with a fancy card) from our 14bed dorm I am even more amazed! So beautiful! Each bed has it´s own curtain, light, massive locker and the thickness of the mattresses looks very promising and soft. When they leave us alone and close the door, I run and jump with happiness on my bed… AUUUUCH!!! I hurt my bones! It is like a brick covered by sheet! 🙁 What a disappointment. Not sure if I want to cry or laugh. Such an amazing place destroyed by something ridiculous like this!
Well lets go find something to eat – that will cheer us up. After walking through many little streets, we found out, that after Can Tho is this place hundred times more expensive. We are desperate, walking in circles. Damn, I feel so miserable. Sick, hungry, disappointed about the hard beds… I was so excited about this island and beaches – and this makes me sad.
We are having overpriced lunch at some local restaurant, getting eaten by mosquitoes and sand flies. The portions are like for ants, so we are leaving with empty wallet and even we are hungrier than before. “Lets go to have a look at the beach!” I am trying to make us feel a bit better. And surprisingly it worked! Golden sand between our toes, sunshine dancing on clear water. Yaaay – at least something positive… We walk slowly and enjoy this relaxing moment.
When we arrive into the room and have a fancy shower, we try to relax, even thought, these beds make it almost impossible. I am taking some pills to make me feel a bit better. It is so not fair, now when Steve started to feel better, I feel so bad!
We are going to bed quite early. Trying to catch up on our sleep – that should help us to feel a bit better.
Night is crazy. We are chasing a little kitten, which sneaked through the door and we cannot get him out. He is hidden under Steve´s bed and it seem quite happy there. When I finally fall asleep – someone above me light up – and there are no curtains on the wall side of the bed. All the light reflects from the white wall and it feels like a daylight in my little cave. Damn it is 1am, 2 am … 2:30 and the light is still on. WHAT IS THE PERSON DOING!?
I can´t do it any more – so I get up and climb up to the top bunk, undo the curtain and there he is. Little Asian fellow, curled up in a little ball and happily sleeping with his light on. What a hell and I thought he is reading a book. I shake with his leg – oh maaan, I scared him to death. But YAAAAY, the light is off! Finally!
Now just try to sleep. I am like a washing machine. When my shoulder dies, I lie on my belly – that makes my hip bone hurt, so lets try the other side… naaah shoulder again… What about back? Damn, my bum is too big and not sinking into the matt… Lets bend my knees – haha it hurst my feet after a while. These beds are truly ridiculous! Ohhhh yeaaaah I know I know – problems of the first world!!!