Back to Rach Gia and Work

Trip Start Oct 23, 2011
Trip End Nov 12, 2011

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Where I stayed
Linda Hotel
What I did
Crossing the Sea of Thailand via the Super Dong III

Flag of Vietnam  , Kiến Giang,
Sunday, November 6, 2011

We had a leisurely wake up this morning; Jean and I even enjoyed coffee in the room before going out to the garden restaurant for breakfast. A beautiful buffet breakfast waited with the traditional Vietnamese breakfast offerings but bacon, scrambled eggs, fresh fruits, juices and on and on; I know we are in Vietnam but sitting there felt like Hawaii one of my first and favorite memories of dining outdoors in a garden setting with the warm ocean air and subtle smell of saltwater, only thing missing birds.

After breakfast there was a enough free time before we had to leave this little island paradise that the group scattered for a little more beach time, one last swim or massage under the palm trees, catching up on journals or emails before boarding the bus back to the ferry.

On the way to the ferry we stopped at a little grocery store to purchase what we wanted for the 2-1/2 ride back to Rach Gia, this would be our lunch. Everyone was on the same track returning to the bus with bags of snacks, sodas, and; I guess you can only eat so much healthy food before those irrepressible junk food cravings take over.

While waiting to board the ferry I noticed that Alicia had a large nasty abrasion down her forearm and found out that she had Beth had been involved in an accident on their motorbike driving on one of the not-so-wonderful roads where they hit some sand. Alicia was thrown off and Beth was thrown into the handlebars sustaining a nasty bruise on her chest and ribs before the bike went down. They were okay but the abrasions were in need of attention especially before they could return to all of the muck and mire at the work site. The bike was damaged but they were able to drive it back to town and settled on $40 for repairs. Both were shaken and luckily they were not on their own, the guide was with them and I am sure helped in the negotiations for repairs.


Our return trip on the Super Dong III was in the comfort of the VIP lounge, comfy but a little cramped until we were underway and a few members of our group opted to sit outdoors on the deck. The rest of us spread out covering the tables with our assortment of snacks.  The lounge was between the bridge and passenger cabin so the crew were in and out; I don't think they were used to seeing the likes of our group spread out in the lounge with our mountains of the junk food wrappers scattered around . . . we did clean up the lounge before leaving the boat.

Once again we entertained by the same crooner but this time we had control of the volume. Someone actually recognized the male singer who name I don't remember now. The shows are filmed in Los Angeles and obviously quite popular here.

It was a fantastic weekend, relaxing for some (me) full of adventure and discovery for others so the 2-1/2 hour crossing afforded time to read, visit or catch up on sleep.

 Back in Rach Gia we disembarked back into the hustle bustle of the crowded dock area and located our van for the short ride back to the hotel.  By the time we arrived it was late afternoon; we made plans to meet some of the group later for dinner before walking to the ATM and grocery store for a necessary infusion of cash and a few luxury items, like a bottle of wine.  Jean and I are not big beer drinkers and miss having a glass of wine with dinner so we were on a quest; most of the restaurants carry only beer.  In fact, while they list a number of beer choices on the menu we have found they only have Tiger Beer and sometimes Heineken and that the deciding factor was always whether or not the beer was cold.

The ATM was successful so resupplied with cash we made our way through the aisles of unfamiliar foodstuff, recognizing a few things like M&Ms. We browsed the snack aisle and picked up a few things to try. It was pretty interesting just browsing the aisles and the produce section.  There was no shortage of choice and the store also carried clothing, jewelry, shoes, plastic ware and household goods so it was really more of a department store.  The variety of wines was pretty good albeit expensive for the imports with selections from Australia, and Chile.  We chose a mid priced white wine and of course hurried back to get it in the fridge. 

The wine was chilled by early evening in time to have a glass before leaving for dinner. Jean struggled to open it with her trusty Swiss Army knife; the cork broke in half, I guess the wine had been sitting on the shelf a little too long.  She was unable to get the remaining cork out but did manage to push it into the bottle leaving cork bits floating in the wine.  We searched around for something to strain it with and found a brand new pair of sock liners in my suitcase, they had never been worn so I thought why not.  It worked well and imparted no unwanted flavor to the wine . . . lesson learned . . . always carry a clean new pair of socks.


Dinner was at a restaurant we had eaten at last week and served the most incredible pancake dish called Bahn Xeo, actually it was more like a crepe.  First a gorgeous basket of greens is brought to the table, the greens range in size from quite large to the smaller herbs.  I was most impressed with the beauty of this display.  Mint and basil were the only greens we identified.  Next came the crepe, larger than a dinner plate, with some shrimp or meat inside and folded in half.   The trick is to tear off a piece of the crepe, stack a variety of greens with largest leaf on the bottom and then place your piece of crepe on top and roll it together like a cigar.  A lovely sauce is provided for dipping, maybe a mixture of rice wine and fish sauce, I really don't know these little morsels are addicting.  The greens all have their unique flavor and texture, simply divine.
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