Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Around Phu Quoc Phu Quoc, Vietnam, Monday, 12 March 2007 8:00pm

A fairly relaxed day. We got up and had breakfast before getting picked up by a boat to go snorkeling. It turned out that we were the only two snorkelers on a dive boat, which is something that I'm going to watch out for in the future. The first place they took us was a good snorkeling site. Lots of colorful coral, and some interesting fish and beautiful urchins. The second site must have been primarily a dive site. There wasn't much of interest at snorkeling depths, and there were tricky currents. I should know better than to snorkel without a shirt on when I don't have a good base tan. I've got a sunburn on my shoulders.

We headed into town to try to get our travel plans a little more settled, so we wouldn't have repeats of the "no, the boats are full/no they're not". Our first stop was at Vietnam Airlines, where we found that the flights to Saigon were actually full, as the travel agents had said, but that we could fly back to Rach Gia for $17 each. Since we'd have to take a bus from Rach Gia to Saigon anyway, getting there several hours earlier would mean we could take an earlier bus, and perhaps arrive before night.

We tried to get bus tickets in several places, but there just wasn't anyone selling them. One of the building with a bus ticket sign out front looked like it was just someone's house, and we waited for a few minutes sitting on a couch before we gave up on the seller showing up. We finally found a place that had someone selling them, but it took a long time to buy them because the guy insisted on repeating the address of the minibus terminal over and over, to make sure we got it. The ironic thing is that it's the same minibus terminal that we arrived at last time, so it's one of maybe three places in Rach Gia that we're really sure of the location of.

We found an internet cafe, determined that the computer we were provided was too infested with malware for us to do anything with (it redirected the urls we typed to a search engine), found another internet cafe, and made a few more arrangements. We sent email to a hotel in Saigon, asking if they had a room for us, and determined that Vietnam Rail doesn't sell tickets directly over the internet, but got some phone numbers of ticket agents. We made our way back, stopping at an ATM.

Our hotel doesn't take credit cards, so we need to get enough cash to pay for 4 nights plus meals. It turned out that the ATM I tried would give me most of the money I asked for, but that the reason it wouldn't give me the whole amount was that it had a limit on the number of bills it would dispense at once... and it was only dispensing 50,000 VND bills (about $3). So now I have way too many of those. Jessica tried another ATM and got much more reasonable denominations.