Stormy New Years on Phu Quoc
Duong Dong Travel Blog› entry 50 of 94 › view all entries
Instead of taking the usual path out the back gate toward the beach, I went out the front gate at sunset to follow the narrow track leading in from the main road. The Oasis Bar and Restaurant - run by the Brit Steph and his Vietnamese wife, Youm - had a real nice menu of both Western and Vietnamese food. I ordered the seafood stir fry with chili and lemon grass which was a little spicy but excellent. Around 8:00p.m.,BBC began broadcasting the New Year celebrations live on a television mounted on a corner wall of the bar as midnight began to circle the globe.
The humidity that had been building for several days unexpectedly burst into a tropical downpour pounding nearby tin roofs like a thousand hammers.
Steph was pleased with the dozen or more customers who darted in from the rain for food, drink, and shelter. Among them, my next-door neighbor from the Thanh Kim Nga Bungalows bellied up to the bar. Koji was on a two week holiday from Japan where he worked for Toyota, painting LandCruisers. With the sagging world economy, production had dropped from 800 a month to 300. Young and restless, after a meal and two beers, he rolled up his pant-legs and made a soggy dash for the Eden where a Pilipino band was scheduled to play. I ordered another Saigon. An elder British couple strolled in dripping wet.
The torrential downpour lasted until quarter to twelve. By then only one couple from Switzerland remained. After toasting midnight at the Oasis, I made my way to the Viet Thanh where Quyen had a bonfire going on the beach surrounded by a crowd of travelers. The rest of the beach looked very quiet. Some type of candle-powered rice paper balloons drifted into the night sky from somewhere down the beach, many soaring far out to sea where the dim lights of fishing boats marked the horizon. As the bonfire dwindled many of the partiers moved toward the Eden. Another short rain sent those remaining inside the crude bar. The palm leaf roof did not stop water from trickling through the ceiling and one English couple cleverly and calmly sipped drinks under an umbrella.