Short On Beer

A site by Josh Short

Menu Close

Category: Asia Ramblings (page 1 of 4)

Vietnam Trip: Part 17

Day Sixteen

I’ve done flight one of three — the shortest flight from Phu Quoc to Saigon. Now I’m at my gate in Saigon waiting for the next flight, about 6 hours long, to Tokyo.

The plan is to grab some ramen during our 3ish hour layover then board our 12.5ish hour flight home to Virginia. Man, the next 24 hours are going to be rough.

The next flight I’m going to try to stay up even though I’m beat and it boards at 11:15pm. Hopefully I’ll sleep most of the Tokyo to home flight since we land at 9:45am. Then I can attempt to have a normal day and stop the jet lag in its tracks.

Fat chance though. More than likely we’ll be exhausted when we get home. Pass out for 5 hours. Then not be able to sleep all night. We’ll see.

Alright. Gotta keep my phone battery up. That’s all I have for today.

Vietnam Trip: Part 16

Day Fifteen: One Last Day

Today is the last full day of the trip. The weather couldn’t be more perfect. Seemingly each day in Phu Quoc the weather improved. Mid-80s. Mostly sunny. Cool, sea breeze.

I’ve swayed on a hammock long enough today to make begin to get nauseous. There are far worse things in life than today’s most troubling issue for me.

I cannot be more thankful to have taken this trip or more grateful to have had the ability to have taken this trip.

When I went to Hakone last year I knew I would return. I have the same strong feeling right now. I will make it back here to Phu Quoc one day.

There is so much of this world to experience. It can be terrifying to leave home, to leave your country, to leave your comfort zone. I don’t think world travel is for everyone. The leap can be too big to take. But if you truly want to, you can. You can make it to a beautiful island off of Vietnam or a serene lake on the footsteps of Fuji or wherever it is you are dreaming of.

There is so much of this world to experience.

That’s all I have for today. The long journey home begins tomorrow.

Vietnam Trip: Part 15

Day Fourteen

This is the second to last full day on vacation. I’m lying on a hammock. Ph is on another one. Sun is sprinkling down between the coconut tree leaves swaying in the wind.

I’ve seen very little of Phu Quoc outside of the resort. The other night we met family for dinner and we drove for about an hour through the island. It feels like many of drives we made on this trip. Homes and businesses pepper each side of the road. Pass by a wedding or a water buffalo or a man working on his motorcycle.

I can talk about our resort — The Peppercorn Beach Resort. We have the ocean view room (1 of 12). It’s worth every penny of the $184 a night. The only negative about the room is that it’s attached on one side to another room. And it’s pretty easy to hear what’s going on in the other room…

There’s a new restaurant and pool. Both are sparkling clean. The beach does get some debris but the staff cleans it regularly. You’re going to get this anywhere on Phu Quoc. They have four hammocks. In front of the ocean view rooms are chairs on each patio then these cool cloth chairs closer to the beach. In front of the pool are sun loungers that go right up to the beach.

The water is warm. We’ve only gone 20-30 feet out into the water and it’s only up to your hips. The waves are very small but very frequent. The water has been choppy each morning, today by far the most. But each evening it’s settled down.

The sand is unlike any sand I’ve seen. It brushes right off. It doesn’t stick to you. If there is any on you in front of each room is a water bucket for you to wash off your feet.

The restaurant makes a fabulous but limited menu. Each day they have a new breakfast and lunch/dinner special. Every meal has been well-portioned and tasty.

Every afternoon from 4-5 you can get a free cocktail. The cocktail menu is lacking (maybe 10 options?). They are above-average though. The beer costs are just a touch more than in Saigon for example. It’s 25,000 VND vs. 15,000-20,000 VND for a Saigon Special (~$1 vs. $0.75).

The staff has been excellent. The Vietnamese Massage was on “special” for $25. It was the best one I’ve gotten in Vietnam. The staff speaks fairly well English.

Most of the visitors seem to be European or American (even though we haven’t talked to anyone else this is just a hunch).

Each day they offer a shuttle to and from the main city.

That’s about all I can think off as this hammock slowly swings. If you’re thinking about the Peppercorn Resort and have questions I’d be happy to answer any!

Editor’s Note: I hope to make a short video giving a tour of the property in the coming weeks (probably months if I’m being realistic). I’ll link to it on this page if I remember 🙂 

Vietnam Trip: Part 14

Day 13

Phu Quoc is like nothing else I’ve experienced before. Calm, ocean breeze, soft sand. After today we have two more full days then the journey home. I’m not ready for it to end.

Usually at this point in a trip I’m beginning to get homesick. Not this time though. If we were in any of the other locations we went on this trip no doubt I would be. But I’m here. On a bench or hammock or front porch chair or sun lounger watching the waves softly splash in with Cambodia in the distance.

I feel the urge to want to “work”. I don’t want to jump on a keyboard and edit or open up Camtasia and create a video tutorial. I just want to write. Or read. Or both. Or neither.

I remember writing almost a year ago to the day after visiting an onsen in Hakone, Japan that I wanted so much more of that feeling I had at that moment. This moment is pretty darn near close to that one. I’m chalking this day and Phu Quoc as a W in the scorebook.

That’s all I have for now.

Vietnam Trip: Part 13

Day 12: Perfection

Quick post today. I’m sitting on the most beautiful beach I’ve even stepped foot on. I’m in Vietnam yet in the distance I can see Cambodia. The water is warm. Sand doesn’t stick to you. Palm trees don’t stop waving in the continuous breeze.

I’m in love with sitting in this lounge chair. At least for the next few days. This finally feels like “a break”. A break from the dishes, work, side work, commuting, email, etc. etc. Not that any of these are bad things (except commuting). It’s just that much needed over-do pause from them in order to make them all seem better once I’m back to them.

Peppercorn Beach | Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Okay. Time to watch some waves and get a mai thai.

Vietnam Trip: Part 12

Day 11

Current situation: Sun has set and I’m lying on a hammock at a beach resort 9,000 miles away from home.

This morning we left Nha Trang. Two flights and a shuttle later we reached our resort: Peppercorn Beach Resort. It’s everything we expected so far.

From 4-5 you can get a complimentary cocktail. Brand new swimming pool. Hammocks. Private bungalow. This is the first resort-type stat I’ve ever had.

I’m actually pretty worn out from the travel today. I’ll go into more detail tomorrow.

Oh yeah, tally 5 more egg rolls. The count is up to 45.

Vietnam Trip: Part 11

Day 10 – Rain, Rain, Go Away

We woke up around 5:45am. That’s been a pretty typical time on this trip. We saw the forecast was calling for rain. It looked nice out though so we threw on our bathing suits and walked the two blocks to Nha Trang Beach.

Not 10 minutes after we get settled in our loungers does it begin to rain. Rats.

We headed back to to the hotel. Grabbed breakfast. Saw it was sunny out again. Ran back to the beach. And like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown we were duped yet again. 10 minutes later it was pouring.

Back to the hotel.

We chilled for a bit. Game planned and packed some since we’re leaving Nha Trang tomorrow. The sun started to shine through again. So we headed back to the beach! Only to find our reserved section of the beach empty without chairs, towels, etc. We decided to walk for a bit.

After an hour or so we were back. No chairs or worker. We called and they said they’re closed!!! We weren’t pleased. Every other hotel had their loungers out. We ended up paying ~$4.50 to a neighboring hotel. It was worth it for the hour on the beach watching Russian tourists try to swim when there were no swimming signs posted everywhere. Cue the rain yet again.

Over lunch I added 3 more egg rolls to the tally. We’re up to 39 now.

For dinner we wanted seafood. The hotel recommended a spot a few miles away. We jumped in a taxi only to find the place closed. The drive said he knew of another good place close by. He was right.

We walked up to this place with green table clothes and light blue plastic chairs. At the front of the restaurant were buckets of seafood — shrimp, lobster, clams, and dozens of sea animals I’ve never seen before.

We feasted. Ate the biggest lobster I’ve ever seen. Got the seafood sweats. I’ll post pictures at some point. Total was $110 USD which is a lot for Vietnam but for the food and for four people it was totally worth it.

Last stop was our hotel’s rooftop bar one last time. Got our complimentary drinks and apps. Added one more egg roll — count’s at 40. Alright cutting this writing off. Hoping on a plane to Phu Quoc in the morning.

Vietnam Trip: Part 10

Day Nine

Okay. It’s late. I’ve had a bit to drink. So here we go.

Had first breakfast at new hotel in Nha Trang. It was good but def not like the Ana Mandara in Da Lat.

Headed to the beach at 9:00am. It rained, then was cloudy then rained then the sun came out for less than a minute then it rained again. By 11:30 the rain was pretty hard so we gave up.

We changed and grabbed a taxi to go to Nha Trang Central. Here we ate lunch and picked up a few Christmas presents. Then jumped in another cab and < $2 later we were on the other side of the city at Lotte Mart where we grabbed a few beers and soju to bring back to the hotel.

We drank with Ph’s parents then headed up to our hotel’s rooftop bar. With our room we apparently get free drinks and food from 6-8pm. We each got two drinks and I was able to tally four more egg rolls to the count. We’re up to 36.

That’s all I got. Time to pass out.

Vietnam Trip: Part 9

Day Eight

Current status: on a beach lounger watching the waves crash as Russian tourists walk by.

How’d I get here? The road from hell.

This morning we left our French-inspired resort in French-inspired Da Lat around 9:00am. 150km and 3.5 hours of white knuckle, almost vomit-inducing of driving landed us in our next stop of the beach city of Nha Trang.

But first, the road from hell.

This was the worst driving trip I’ve ever been on and I’m not exaggerating because of recency-bias. Most of the ride was on curvy, hilly and foggy rural mountainous roads.

Unlike the drive from Saigon to Da Lat where there was small town after small town, the ride from Da Lat to Nha Trang was lonely. Small waterfalls dot the large sloping mountain on one side of the car while a small, if even any, guardrail is on the other side. The drive is lightly peppered with other vans, buses and of course motorcycles.

About two hours in I saw our first chance to stop the car — a runaway truck ramp. I signaled to our driver to pull over. I’m not sure I woulda made it if we waiting one curve longer.

I get motion sickness very easily. So much so that I got prescribed a patch to fight it on this trip knowing it’d be a battle at times. The patch had worked FABULOUS so far. Today? Well I guess it worked because I didn’t get sick but I felt awful.

Somehow, eventually, we made it. I really wish I could have enjoyed the views. Some of them were breathtaking but I was too focused on my equilibrium to pay attention.

We arrived in Nha Trang and got into our room around 2:00. We had to wait a few minutes because it wasn’t ready so we had walked the surrounding blocks and found the beach which was only two blocks away.

We’re staying at the Liberty Central. For the few hours we’ve been here the hotel has been fine. Decent ocean and city view. Clean. Comfy bed. Etc.

We went down to the beach for about an hour. It was overcast and rained off and on. But we sat there watching the waves crash and Russians lounge in neighboring chairs. Apparently Nha Trang is a huge tourist attraction for Russians. Like there are more signs in Russian than English. It’s fine, just different not being the second language of choice in a foreign place.

Alright. Time to head up to the rooftop bar and grab our complimentary cocktail.

Post Script: Four more egg rolls today. Count is up to 32.

Vietnam Trip: Part 8

Day Seven

I’m sitting poolside waiting for drinks to be delivered. Sooo that means I might breeze through recalling today’s adventures.

Day Two in Da Lat

After breakfast Ph and I jumped in a taxi and headed to the manmade lake in town. It’s around the same size as Lake Anne if you’re familiar with Reston, VA at all.

We grabbed a sugarcane juice and rented a swam paddle boat. I ended up getting somewhat sunburnt from the motorcycle tour yesterday so I was constantly applying sunscreen while in the boat at 9:30am. I was kinda a mess.

The boat was fun. It only cost a few dollars. There are also horse drawn carriage rides at the lake too. Those ran ~$12-13. We decided against it thinking we’d come back later that evening with Ph’s parents. Spoiler: we didn’t.

From the lake we walked the quarter mile or so up to Da Lat Market. It was a lot larger than I was expecting. We walked through food vendors, clothing stores, shoe shops and more. We grabbed a couple Christmas presents for family and picked up some coffee for ourselves to take home. Da Lat is known for their coffee (see yesterday’s post on the Weasel Coffee).

We decided to grab a snack so we walked into nearby Leo’s Cafe (or something like that). Ph ordered a lime soda and a strawberry soft serve yogurt. What ended up coming to the table was a deconstructed lime soda — ice, can of soda water, sugar packets, one cut lime and one cut kumquat — and a strawberry smoothie. Whoops. The smoothie was actually quite good. The lime soda was just okay. We also ordered egg rolls. I notched four more to the count bringing it up to 26. Don’t think I’m gonna get to 100 but I’m going to keep trying! I ordered a carrot juice which was exactly as I expected. It was spot on too. Total bill: ~$11.

After Leo’s we walked a bit more of Da Lat. We stumbled upon a dessert and sandwich shop. Ph grabbed some baked goods and I ordered sandwiches for us in Vietnamese!! I was so proud of myself. The two banh mi’s were $0.66 each. #cantbeatthat

My grilled chicken banh mi was better than yesterday’s but it was a bit skimpy on the chicken. But for The price you absolutely can’t complain.

This afternoon we went to our hotel’s spa. Yes this was our third massage in less than a week. When massages at home are $100+, getting three for less than that makes you want to get all of them. So yes we jumped on the opportunity to get another baller $30 massage. I got an 80-minute tradition Swedish massage and Ph got an 80-minute Vietnamese massage which includes cupping.

Alright. Drinks are here and I gotta relax.

Post Script: Had two more egg rolls at dinner! The count is up to 28.