“And now, the end is near and so I face the final curtain.” That might be a bit to dramatic, but our time on Phu Quoc island is coming to an end.
We take a long and slow morning session in bed after a night of many disturbances. I have not been sleeping all that much tonight and it was good to just relax and slowly come to life today.
After breakfast we did a egg wash off Katja’s hair. Yup, as part of the no poo project today we did a pure egg wash. Only thing to remember us ti rinse with cold water so chit to end with poached egg in your hair.
The we set a course for town to send a package home. And the fun began.
First we got a taxi driver who don’t understand one word of English. Not one. Google translate on the phone got the message about “post office” through and we got dropped off there. The conversation went something like this:
“To the post office”
“P o s t o f f i c e”
Then I showed him this picture if Google translate:
“Ahh, poffiss!”, He exclaimed with enthusiasm.
So that’s the right pronunciation?
When we arrived at the “poffiss” no-one at the counter wanted to acknowledge us for a while before a young girl address us. No English, but Google translate rules. We got sent over to the other counter and the lady there. I use the term lady loosely as she acted like a bitch. She didn’t look up, didn’t respond for a while, and when she did whatever she said embarrassed the young girl who showed us over. When we probed harder all she said was “no send”. When we tried to get an understanding of WHY she wouldn’t send it we got no reply. I showed her the phone with the translation of the question but she just refused to answer. As I said, Bitch, with a capital B.
Outside we used Google map that said it was another post office further up the road. That’s in conflict with everything we’ve heard, but why but try? The taxi driver was still outside and we got back in. He tried to rip us off completely, and wanted a detour around the island instead of go the 1,1 km up the road. We forced him to stop, got out, tried to get help at a hotel reception. No luck, another taxi back towards town. This driver said the post office didn’t operate between 12-14. Maybe that was our problem there?
We found out I has left my cap in the other taxi. Damn, my Vietnam cap now finally starting to look worn and cool. Katja suggested we walk the fifty meters to where he was when we came out of the post office. I almost said it wasn’t worth trying, but went along anyway. Wouldn’t you know the bastard had driven back to town and were at the same spot. The guy even thought we wanted to ride with him again, but I got my cap back.
We sat down at the first cafe that looked semi decent and had Wi-Fi. We found online a cafe that also provided help for tourists.
At Buddy’s cafe we had to wait a little before the help came, but when it did we got good answers. We need passport pictures with red background for the visa application to Indonesia. We got the address for a photographer.
We need dollar bills to pay for the visa application. We got addresses for a couple of banks recommended.
We asked about the post office, but here he was at a loss. “Maybe not speak that much English”, he said. He got that part right indeed.
After having lunch at the cafe we walked to the photographer. A little joint in the wall with a few camera for sale, but the operator was a wizard in Photoshop. They didn’t have red background, but blue is fine when you’re able to change it on the computer. Suddenly we had four pictures each and we could set out to get dollars.
Towards the back we passed the post office again and we walked inside. Katja was dubious to weather the bitch would turn us away, but she wasn’t there. The lady in her spot knew enough English to make it clear that sending a package was quite alright. We didn’t hesitate but submitted it all on her.
Katja stayed at the post office while I went out for dollars in case the bank closed early. We probably need more Dong as well since the package is quite heavy. The bank is next door and I got the attention of a girl. I was routed to counter two and got information that 100 U.S. Dollars is 2.172.000 Dong. I could, of course, not pay by Visa or MasterCard and had to go out to the ATM. Back inside the guy at counter two looked at me with horror in his eyes as I started counting up Dongs. “No, no allowed to change Dong to Dollar, only Dollar to Dong”, he said. I put up the most intense puppy blue eyes I’ve ever managed, and he finally talked to his manager. She OK’d it and I got a hundred dollar bill.
Back at the post office Katja was still in process of securing the package. Every object had been scrutinized. Shampoo and a few bills from Laos, Cambodia and Thailand was denied. The total amount probably equivalent to 10 dollars. After everything seemed in order the lady’s phone rang. The package was flagged in the system before it was sent. We had put Phu Quoc pepper in there to enjoy when we arrive back home, but that was not legal. So then we had to reopen the package and take out the pepper, repack it and re-weigh it before it could be finalized. Holy crap on a cracker, what a day. It’s four hours since we left the hotel now and we’re almost at the end of our short to-do list, but with half the goods still in our hands. The pictures and the dollar bill weigh up for the episodes at the post office though. Always look on the bright side of life.
Back at the hotel we spent time by the pool until sunset. We swam and enjoyed the view and looked at the sun disappearing behind the low clouds. Another part of the trip is coming to an end. This gotta be the most beautiful hotel we’ve stayed at and the service has been outstanding.
We get dinner one last time in the restaurant and get to say goodbye to our new Moldovian friends before turning in.
We enjoy the last of the fruity wine and a beer out on the balcony while listening to the waves in the darkness.
“The true paradises are the paradises that we have lost.”
― Marcel Proust