Teaching English with Kayy-Seee

Cham Island Travel Blog

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When I heard I’d got a place working in Vietnam with Global Volunteer Network I was delighted. When I heard that my placement was on a remote island with just one other volunteer, I felt mildly terrified.


I need not have worried because in fact I’d lucked out: Aussie Katie is the coolest chick in the icebox. She’s 29, petite with a wonderful open smiling face and quick wit that would often floor me.


Every day on Cham there was lots of free time between lessons and lesson planning. Often it was too hot to be outside so we’d go to our own rooms and read or write. When it was cool enough we went for walks around the harbour, or to the beach.


We were spending at least 12 hours a day in each other’s company. Previous island volunteers warned us it was inevitable we’d drive each other crazy.

Don’t know about Katie, but I never felt that sentiment. We’re both similar enough to be able to say ‘I think I’ve have some on-my-time now’, and be fine with it. Likewise we were both happy to spend empty minutes saying nothing or waffling randomly. Our discussions ranged from what our second cousin’s (father’s side) husbands’ dad liked to eat on Fridays, to things in our pencil cases during the 3rd term of year 4 at primary school……and everything in between.


It’s easy to see how quickly one could go mad in solitary confinement. I was just lucky that my fellow prisoner was Katie: She made the dull days sparkle.



Mad Rabid Demon Dog Spirit.


One night Katie and I spent a happy few hours telling each other stories about spirits & the paranormal. Then we watched 3 pirate episodes of Ghost Whisperer. It’s not exactly the world’s scariest show, (although Jennifer Love Hewitt’s bust-to-waist ratio is terrifyingly intimidating) but has a few jumpy moments.


So we were a little bit on edge when the lights went out at ten.

At about midnight I was woken by a scratching sound. Immediately I grabbed my headlamp and flung its beam all around the room. Nothing there. Lights off.


Then the noise started. Low & guttural, rising in pitch;





To my over-stimulated mind this was the sound of pure evil. It seemed canine, but I’ve grown up with dogs and I’ve never heard one make such an awful sound.


It’s a Hound of Hell!! My neck went clammy. The growling continued, eerie and menacing.


I hunkered down into my pillow & swore that ‘If I live through the night I’m getting off this godforsaken Island first thing tomorrow’


When tomorrow arrived Katie & I poked our heads out of our doors & both said,

Did you hear?

Yes… did you…?

I was going to call out to you but I didn’t want to wake you.

Me too! ….


In the light of day my pledge to leave Cham seemed a little rash, and with a bit of rational discussion we decided the noise might have been a rabid dog or a dying cat.


Maybe, but not Definitely.

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Cham Island
photo by: heywong1980