And thus, at Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport, the Whopper Jr. became my Achilles heel in Vietnam. If it didn’t taste so good, I could never live with my weakness.
Much of Con Son’s coastline — we not tapering off to secluded beaches — dropped off sharply into the crashing blue waves below.
The coastal roads ringing Con Son were a pleasure to drive, and the views weren’t bad either.
Offering up “a bit of what you fancy,” this was Con Son’s hippest bar by far. The owner was a young Vietnamese man who spoke pretty good English and had great taste in music.
Con Son’s main town proper, as seen from our third-floor balcony.
This little kid — couldn’t have been older than four — knew how to navigate my smart phone better than me — and managed a decent score on Angry Birds to boot.
Leaving Con Dao left us a bit wistful, but three days of doing not much at all had also left us itching to get back to civilization. Saigon was calling.
Less than 1,000 yards from the airport was one of the most pristine and secluded beaches I’ve ever seen. A few shacks served up beer, coconuts, surprisingly good fare.
When we traveled back to the airport via motorbike to extend our flight a day (at no extra charge), the parking lot was deserted, but they still made us park in the designated motorbike area.
Looking out at Con Son’s main harbor. A new port was slowly taking shape and it appeared heavier development was on its way.
At the Saigon airport we took a minibus out onto the tarmac and boarded our plane to the Con Dao islands the old-fashioned way. Not gonna lie: my first first time on a propeller-powered plane and I was a little leery.
Outside the hotel in Phan Rang-Thap Cham, construction workers toiled in the dark, digging what appeared to be some kind of cellar or plumbing facility. They asked us to by them beers and we obliged.
At a lively corner restaurant near the Phan Rang-Thap Cham bus station we found some passable pho, a bunch of locals watching an English Premier League football match, and a deaf waitress who we flattered with our attentions.
Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City) at 7 a.m., as seen from the second floor of the Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
Once on the bus, we settled into our semi-reclined seats (obviously built with smaller people in mind) and sat back to enjoy some Vietnamese music videos, which are played at ridiculously loud volumes and are typically tinged with tragedy and/or the longing for true love. Thankfully the videos cut out around midnight — some shut eye was a must — but they kicked back on again at around 5 a.m., with still an hour to go until Saigon.
We found a hotel near the bus station that let us take showers for a reasonable fee. Afterward we sat in the lobby with the owners, took pictures, and discovered the joys and confusions of Google Translate.