Another World Record in Paradise
Our new buddy, Edjis, told us about the World Record here on Phu Quoc; we had to go and visit. And we ended up singing our hearts out, certainly not a world record, but we had fun.
Our driver Sinh picked us up and drove to the south of the island. As we got near to our destination, we noticed rows of “Venetian” apartments, painted with pseudo cracked render. Oh dear, what are we coming too?
Sinh dropped us off at the vast empty concourse, and the Italian theme continued, now a Roman auditorium. Through the turnstile, we hopped on the gondola. We were on the longest non-stop three-rope cable car in the world (recognised by the Guinness World Records in 2018). It was taking us over two islands to Hon Thom Island, otherwise known as Pineapple Island, almost eight kilometres away.
Wow, what views! Scores of colourful fishing boats were docked in the bay. The fishermen, after selling their early morning catch, now resting probably in one of the corrugated shacks squeezed together on a golden beach. Later we saw a floating hut advertising its Pearl Farm. “Ooh Pearls” Jac cried with delight.
The cable car took us higher and higher to one of the towers 164 metres tall. The sudden descent rolled our stomachs, and one lady looked a bit green about the gills. In our pod, we were with a Korean family, two older ladies and a Thai man. As we were reaching the next tower, one of the men shouted out “3…2…1…wee”, and we all joined in.
Fifteen minutes later, we arrived on the island into a Disney-like atmosphere. Sunworld runs this area bring “The experience of a vibrant and exciting entertainment world”. No, thank you, not our cup of tea.
Talking of tea, we stopped off at a café and chatted for ages, putting the world to rights. Eventually just as we got up to walk to the harbour, we heard drumming. Intrigued, we followed the sound to see young beauties dressed in swaying grass skirts with the girls adorning coconut shell bikini tops. Jac suggested that she and I could get a pair!
They beckoned us to follow them to a square, then entertained us with the beating of the drums and the Polynesian-style dancing. Jac and I were both hoping they would ask us to join in. Tim wasn’t!
We continued our walk, through a building site, and into a local village, where the narrow street was covered to protect the street sellers from the sun. We watched a young lady deep-frying some pink sticky dough – was it made from yam?
Unfortunately, when we reached the beach, the tide was in, no expanse of fine white sand here. Tim noticed a dead starfish (or is it a seastar?) and picked it up to show a little boy, placing it in a box for him. What a delightful little lad. He was so comical and full of life.
We waved farewell and returned to get our gondola back to the mainland. We had our cabin all to ourselves this time; the coronavirus has significantly reduced the numbers of tourists.
As we traversed over the blue water, we noticed long lines of something in the sea. To our dismay, it was rubbish. Tons of plastic bags, polystyrene containers, and other garbage floating in strips, like vomit ruining the natural beauty. Very, very sad.
Reaching the mainland, who should be there – the male dance troop, this time in black Spartan attire, giving us some entertainment while we waited for Sinh.
For a late lunch, we found a great café, Saigonese Eatery with the help of Google Maps with the friendly staff wanted their photo taken with us. Stuffed full, we walked into Duong Dong, the main town on the island.
After admiring the sunset and Jac doing a bit of retail therapy, we met up with our mate Edijs at the entrance of the Night Market. Vendors were selling an array of food, clothes and gifts with teenagers trying to put peanuts in our hands to entice us to buy a bag.
I noticed a silk shop. Would this have a wedding outfit for me? No such luck, but Jac purchased a fun blue silk dress at a discount price.
As we were squeezing our way through the crowds, for security, I put my phone away in Tim’s bag. On seeing this, Edijs reached for his phone. Where was it? He frantically patted his pockets. Nothing. Quick-thinking, Tim zoomed off back to the clothes shops. To Edijs relief, Tim found it tucked in the back of the sofa they had been patiently sitting on. Phew!
After a drink and a meal for Edijs, Tim found a bar that had an open mike night. We fancied a bit of a sing-song. Edijs got up first and sang a fabulous rendition of Oasis’s Wonderwall. Tim was next to sing Boomtown Rats “I don’t like Mondays”. Now, Tim isn’t known for his tuneful voice; he often sings in a variety of keys, mostly the wrong ones. To my astonishment, he sang brilliantly: in tune, relaxed and confident. Wow – this travelling is certainly changing him. I quickly videoed him but was gutted later to find that I must have pressed the wrong button. This special moment is now only captured in my memory.
A South American man came rushing to the stage. “I am in charge here” he announced. He and a beautiful Japanese lady then took over and played many numbers. She had a perfect voice, and he was a great musician, but my value of fairness was being compromised. “Open mike” surely is for everyone. Later in the evening, Jac kindly requested that I sang a tune. Eleanor Rigby was my choice. Tim and I sang this at the Noreabang in Seoul, South Korea’s equivalent of a Karaoke and we got a high score, unbelievably!
I pulled up the words on my phone, and the guy played the introduction on the keyboards with a jazzy genre. Well, that’s a bit different. It was quite fun getting into the groove and singing the song differently.
I wouldn’t say that our singing was a world record by any means, but it did make us realise how much we love to sing.