I won't blog about the fact that Con Dao has beautiful rocky coves and long deserted sandy beaches, I'd rather just speak about some of the stranger things observed from this remote place. I say remote, it's only a 45 minute flight from HCM, but it may as well be 3 hours out into the South China Sea. Previously the home of a large prison used first by the French and then the Americans, they say that a total of 20,000 Vietnamese were killed here. Only a handful of western tourists visit the island. There are only 6,000 people living on Con Doa with 2,000 of those soldiers as the Vietnamese government retains training facilities in this location. This means that even the main road through the town of Con Son can be ghostly quiet even in the middle of the day.
I'm not sure if it was because of the storm that hit Da Nang in the past few days (of which we felt the tail end on Saturday), or if it is simply normal, but the town was full of groups of ragged looking men wandering around, and almost walking into lamposts and falling down manholes when they saw us....they were even staring at Chi like they'd never seen a women before. It turns out that they were all fisherman who live on their boats. They 'disembark' to eat or pass the time whilst waiting to go out again. There were a lot of them, then again, there were a lot of boats.
If I had to pick one adjective to use for Con Dao, it would be 'rugged', although that may be influenced by the wind and rain we experienced. The coastline, interior, and beaches were dramtic anyway, and it's always great to drive a motorbike along a windy coastal road whilst enjoying the views.
The town has some immaculate streets, so it makes sense to ban the following. You don't want any big turds on the road, do you?
The strangest thing of all, apart from the 41 room hotel with nobody in it, were the 'Stick Fighters' of Con Dao. We saw a group of men, not even teenagers, having a nightime fight using huge sticks, 'Little Jon' stylee. It would be one of those reports you sometimes see on the news; bizarre happenings in remote places that go on unknown to the rest of the world. Even more worrying, the next day I saw two kids no older than 10 practicising their stick fighting skills with mini-staffs, as if they were just waiting for their opportunity to be in a real 'stick fight'.
So that's it. Good hiking through the hills, great snorkelling and diving allegedly, but Koh Samui it ain't.