As the sun sets on our amazing journey, Seren writes about our last destination:
The time spent on Phu Quoc was the most memorable part of the journey for me and I’m sure for many others. To travel to our last destination, we rode a bus for most of the morning before a brief three hours on The Superdong III, the ferry that brought us to paradise. Once we left the muddy water of the city’s bay we made our way to the clear blue waters of the west side of the island. The view from the window reminded me of the hillsides of the Ecuadorian rainforest even if we were on an island on the other side of the world. We got to the Gecko Lodge, conveniently located on the beach, eager to immerse ourselves in the warm tropical waters and dig our toes into the soft sand.
We would spend the next three days playing in the water and relaxing on the sand while we wrote postcards and reflected on our journey. I can still feel the warmth of the sun, hear the lapping of the waves, and see the remains of my sunburn. Each morning a group of us would head to the beach to swim in the tropical waters. Beautiful fish swam around us, and we regularly swam onto rocks or floating docks to have the rising sun quickly dry us off. If not for the allure of the smoothie stand up the street and the occasional writing project, we might never have left the beach.
Our first day in Phu Quoc also happened to coincide with Henry’s birthday, so after experiencing our first sunset on the beach, the birthday boy chose what I think was one of the best places we ate the whole journey. In fact, this restaurant was so memorable we returned two nights later for our final dinner before we started the journey home. Challenged to order something different to expand our palates, we ordered so much food that the cooks had to send people to the markets for more ingredients to feed our group of 13. At the peak of our banquet, we had 4 hot pots and at least 2 dishes to accompany each person. The hotpot Jay ordered was of buffalo stuffed with fermented rice, which sounded amazing but was excessively sour and all around delicious. Another student ordered deep-fried frog, which tasted not as much like chicken as I thought it would but rather more like a tender quail. And, of course, there were plates of shrimp, squid, octopus, mango salad, noodles, and rice.
It was a night to remember, without a doubt; but it was also the night I realized that our long and wonderful journey was coming to an end. I thought of all the people who had helped us to get where we were, the people who allowed us to travel in such a beautiful country filled with the kindest and most honest people within an amazing culture. We boarded our plane at sunset, and we began the process of making sense of how we had been changed by our month abroad together. I know it will take time to fully realize the impact of this trip, and I have no doubt that I will always look back fondly at my time in Vietnam.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We are excited to announce we are matching funds for all donations made this month up to $5,000. For anyone who enjoyed reading the Educational Student Tour of Vietnam series, your donation will help fund the development of the next generation of global citizens.
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