Bloody Ferry…

18 Jul
I’m busting to get out of Vietnam – but loving the thought of a couple of days in an international style resort, and J’n’J had very generously offered to gift us with some accommodation. So we head vaguely towards the island of Phu Quoc, and the border, catching to local bus to a town where they grow flowers… nice… but here’s a note to travellers: the bus takes a lot longer than your own motorbike. We’ve kind of forgotten how long stuff takes by local public transport, and we have to stop to check whether JnJ have made the internet booking. Yes, they have. For the next night. There’s only one ferry per day, so we have to get to the port town today. Fine
Including walking between terminals etc we changed mode of transport 12 times in one day… Walk, local bus, regional bus, walk, mini bus, moto, walk, ferry, walk etc etc….
The highlight was waving down a private mini bus, that just happened to have a 10 year old Canadian/Vietnamese girl on board who was back home with her mum and could translate for us. We paid a dude on the bus 60 000 dong, and it was explained by the very polite young lady that we’d have to change buses, but that this dude would come with us. Fine, except when we got off the bus, our new friend merely waved down two other dodgy looking dudes, paying them 10 000 each to give us a lift to the next town on their motos (then more walking, another 2 motos etc etc).

So anyway, we crash into the port town, Rach Gia, about 8pm, find a bed, find some food, and book the ferry.
The ferry’s not running.
There’s a storm out at sea and the ferry hasn’t run for the past 3 days.
The hotel reservation is one of those no change, no cancellation, deals.
Well, we saw an airport on the way into town, maybe we’ll fly (gulp).
So we wander over to Vietnam Airlines… Sorry, booked out til the 18th.
After some typical speaking-a-second-language-culture-clash stuff, we find there’s a standby list. Eventually we find out we can actually get tickets for the 13th. Blake calls the hotel to see if we can change the non-changable reservation. Yes! We can, we just have to go online and change on the internet as well. But of course that doesn’t work (computer says no).
So back to the Vietnam Airlines office for us. We call the hotel again, and are told to try the Saigon head office. I’m assuming at this stage that we’re going to write-off the $200 gift. But the man at the Saigon office is actually going to Phu Quoc this weekend. He understands that sometimes the weather plays havoc with arrivals at this hotel. Although our internet booking is strictly non-transferable and non-refundable, he’s going to make an exception for us.
So in the end, we have to hang out in the border town for 2 days, we’re paying 340 000 dong to fly across to the island, but we get our tropical holiday-inside-the-holiday.
Bloody Ferry.

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