This island off the coast of Cambodia was a perfect introduction to Vietnam for us. The small town of Duong Dong had a lively night market, tons of great places to eat and great Vietnamese coffee!
A moment, if you please, for me to indulge you in the rapturous mana that is Vietnamese coffee. It is velvety, thick, with chocolate undertones and a sweet aftertaste; this drink is strong and can be served hot or cold. If made correctly on a hot day, there will be a ton of ice allowing the drinker quite a while of sipping on the mixture, each taste not being diluted with water, but enriched by its presence. This is a drink one can experience in expensive coffee houses, a mother’s kitchen or at a tarped food stall- regardless, it is luscious.
Ok, so back to Phu Quoc…
The beaches, or the western coastline, were crowded with tourists and hotels. The sand was smooth and golden, and there were palm trees and blue skies, but we weren’t too blown away. We’re spoiled. Fiji ruined us.
It was nice to sit under the shade of a palm tree and read. The days did get very hot, however, and at around 35C (95F) being on the sand felt unbearable. We’d amble back to our room and vegetate in the A/C, totally aware of our beautiful, luxurious surroundings and giving no fucks.
One afternoon, after a particularly hot sunning, Jackson and I decided to get a Bahn Mi before getting back to the hotel.
Then all hell broke loose.
I was the sickest I have ever been. It felt like every orifice of my body was bailing fluid. For hours I was wracked with cramps, stabbing pain in my belly culminating in multiple trips to the toilet. You know that feeling when you hug a toilet bowl like it’s your mother? That was me.
I was a wreck. Jackson was patient and sweet, even leaving the room to eat a hamburger. The lucky bastard didn’t get so much as a bad burp from the lunch we’d had. We ate the same thing!
To comfort myself, I’d go on facebook and instagram and imagine myself as someone else, until I saw a picture of someone’s food online. Noooo! I don’t want to see a picture of your steak and fries! I’m going to puke again!
I was out of commission for a good two days. Ugh. Our loose dreams of maybe renting a motorbike to see another part of the island evaporated like the cold sweat off my forehead. Oh, Phu Quoc: why?
Getting food poisoning is a sure bet with me. Whenever I have traveled some form of gut rot has reared its ugly head. To not get some type of bad-food experience in Asia is to be lucky, indeed. I knew it was only a matter of time.
The great thing about terrible poisoning is that it makes for great stories later. Sitting around a low, plastic table lit by a naked light bulb on a warm, humid night in some foreign town makes a perfect setting for swapping funny shit-your-pants stories among seasoned travelers. A few beers deep and the belly laughs really begin as knowing nods abound.
So, yeah. I got really sick. But it was time for Ho Chi Minh and new adventures. Would I recommend a trip to Phu Quoc? Eh. It was alright. You’ll find better beaches in Thailand.