Exploring An Thoi

An Thoi Travel Blog

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Boat winch
 

My rented motorbike headed down the west coast passing a couple of thatched-hut fishing villages, the pearl farm, coconut groves, and mile after mile of secluded beach. I had hoped to find a classic Vietnamese fishing boat on dry land either under construction or repairs but saw none. Any English-speaking worker might provide interesting insight to their construction or operation. I stopped only once to photograph the winching mechanism of a smaller boat that was hauled ashore by rope. A kid of about seven years ran from across the road, mumbled something in Vietnamese, then held out his hand. When I gave him nothing, he pouted, slugged me in the leg, and walked away. I wanted to shout back "Hey, the war is over kid … you won..." but he wouldn't have understood.

 

I intercepted the main paved road and continued south past the Prisoner of War Museum into An Thoi at the bottom of the island.

Quiet bay at An Thoi
A Phu Quoc map acquired free from the Beach Club showed a lighthouse there and I looked to find it by following a dirt road hooking out of town toward the west. The alleyway ended at a small bay. While squatting women in cone-shaped hats cleaned five-gallon buckets of fresh squid, long-tail taxi boats shuttled crews to and from anchored fishing vessels. I parked the Honda and strolled a narrow walkway between the tiny homes of concrete, wood, and tin lining the shore and a steep jungle-covered hillside.

 

The local people were as curious of a foreigner in their midst as I of them. Phuong invited me into his house where his wife Hanh poured me a shot glass of yellow Vietnamese tea. We sat at an unpadded wooden couch and two matching chairs drawn close to a low table.

Phuong
A couple of calendars added color to the living room's chipped and faded blue plaster walls. It was Phuong's bid to recall English. He had used the language little since the American war and thus forgotten most. Before heading back to sea for six or seven days, he was on a final day off. His boat fishes coastal waters up to a hundred kilometers from home port but he had been as far as Malaysia and Australia as one of Vietnam's fleeing 'boat people' after the war. He gets a week off each month and earns a good income. I never did find the An Thoi Lighthouse, instead, new friends - new friends to revisit in future years.

 

 

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Boat winch
Boat winch
Quiet bay at An Thoi
Quiet bay at An Thoi
Phuong
Phuong
The rented Honda
The rented Honda
Phu Quoc west coast
Phu Quoc west coast
Cleaning squid
Cleaning squid
The An Thoi dock
The An Thoi dock
Cargo
Cargo
Off-loading cargo
Off-loading cargo
A Phu Quoc river
A Phu Quoc river
An Thoi
photo by: rotorhead85