Doin’ the Phu Quoc Rock

Vivid shades of yellow and blue swirl disconcertingly amidst a jumble of indigo skies overlayed by the grey green clouds of an impending tropical storm as the most brilliantly red Hibiscus imaginable tumble crazily with pink Lantana and purple Foxglove.

Brilliantly hued butterflies dance from flower to flower and deep within my subconscious I perceive that their wings create soundwaves that vibrate against my eardrums and harmonise with the ruffling of leaves and palm fronds in a zephyr breeze.

As I struggle to regain consciousness the ocean pounds unceasingly on a shoreline, insects chirrup and click noisily competing with a dozen different birdsongs while in the distance a dog barks and human voices gently waft in an out as if borne on a puff of air.

What is happening to me? No matter how I struggle I cannot surface from this comatose like state and I wonder if I?ve been drugged. Surely these visions are psychedelic hallucinations and are substance induced, but who has done this to me and why? I give up and succumb yet again to the overwhelming sense of tiredness that envelopes me.

Finally I begin to wake up and as I groggily lift my head to focus on my surroundings I remember where I am and realise that in fact what has induced such a deep afternoon sleep is the peace, tranquillity and clean pure ocean air that can be found on the island of Phu Quoc.

I suppose that the lunch of fresh grilled tuna steak with salt, pepper & lime, Vietnamese spinach saut?ed in garlic and oyster sauce, steamed rice with the famous Phu Quoc nuoc mam (fish sauce) and couple of chilled Sai Gon beers could have been influential also.

We had arrived at Bo Resort from the morning flight out of Sai Gon and eaten in their small restaurant & bar that is meters from the ocean and open to it. The restaurant was a short walk from our thatched bungalow that was very open and airy with views over the beach and surrounded by trees, shrubs, the most brilliant flowers and yes, many butterflies.

There are only 10 bungalows at Bo Resort and the planting of trees and shrubs has been so successful that, from where our bungalow sat, it was almost impossible to see another and the same goes for other people as well. The quiet atmosphere and the privacy were wonderful.

Each bungalow has thatched walls and roof with bamboo railed balconies at the front and roll down shutters in case the offshore breeze comes up. It was in a deck chair on our balcony where I first fell into my deep slumber but I did manage at some stage to stagger in and flop on to the queen size bed. At night from this position it is possible to open just one eye and have a view of the ocean. If you are lucky the moon will be casting its glow upon the water while the lights from fishing boats bob on the horizon.

The bathrooms in each hut are open air but completely private and weather resistant and have a small garden that is watered when the rain drips from the overhanging thatch. It was fascinating to sit and contemplate life as the heavy monsoonal rain cascaded only centimetres away. This is a very pleasant set up and adds to the feeling that you should be clad in nothing more than a loose fitting sarong. OK, there is no hot water, but actually there is no need given the usual temperature and cold showers were very refreshing.

Bo Resort is approximately 10 kilometres from the airport, which is situated in the middle of the main town of Duong Dong on the western side of the island. We were greeted at the terminal by a gentleman with a sign who directed us to a couple of xe om?s (motorbike taxis) and I was intrigued to discover that the unsealed road upon which we had to travel began by traversing one end of the runway.

The beach to the north of Bo Resort is long and open where it flanks Ong Lang Bay and to the south it contains many rock features which are fascinating to walk around at low tide. You could never be lonely on a walk along the beach here as there are always a couple of Phu Quoc dogs only too happy to escort you as they gambol along sniffing at everything and looking back to make sure you are still following.

We did our usual trick and hired a motorbike to have a look around the island but we did not have time to get to the north and the state forest which I was told contains some virgin stands of tress. Oh well we have to leave something for next time.

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