Paradise and the Organ Escape Attempt

When I left you I was on my way to my first ever holiday in Vietnam, my first trip away from the madness that is Ho Chi Minh City, I would be leaving behind the pollution, noise, dirt, scooters and hassle for five days and heading to the idyllic tropic island of Phu Quoc. I was more than ready to go.

I found myself sat outside the domestic departures terminal at HCMC airport, Tom Clancy in hand, waiting for Jan, Sarah and Nicola to arrive, we would also be meeting Seo (who had left earlier) and Marlene (who was taking the bus as her passport was in getting its visa updated) when we got there.

Not too long after I’d sat down (and been unceremoniously gawked by a tribes worth of Vietnamese people) the others arrived and it was time to go and check in. Despite a small kerfuffle with Sarah’s credit card and my cracking a joke that caused plain confusion we got checked in without too many problems.

Not long after we were on one of the smallest planes I’ve ever flown in and set to take to the skies. It had propeller engines. I was mildly worried. Thankfully I shouldn’t have been, the flight was a hop, skip and a jump at 50 minutes and felt no different to any other flight. I read some Clancy, which is an excellent way to get through any flight.

As we flew in we came over a large amount of untouched forest and saw very little in the way of mass civilization. It would seem Phu Quoc has yet to be plundered by the hedge fund managers and Z list celebrities. I’m sure that’s not too far away however as three figures a night complexes and expensive spas are already beginning to spring up. It’s probably inevitable anywhere hot and tropical will be covered in cookie cutter resorts for the middle classes eventually though.

Thankfully right now the island is mostly unspoiled and pleasant in a rustic non-developed kind of way. Upon arriving the first thing to grab your attention is most definitely the heat. Without the smog haze that surrounds HCMC and a little closer to the equator the heat was searing. My first mission upon getting to the hotel would be to get the sun tan lotion out.

We were going to meet Seo at a place “with monkeys” and right on the beach. It turned out said monkeys were sadly penned in a cage with all of the freedom of an unwrapped Mars Bar. It was however on the beach and complete with sun loungers and those shade things made of straw you see in the stereotypical pictures.

The beach at our hotel

We all went with the option of just having a fan for ten dollars a night rather than paying more than double (25) to have the benefit of air conditioning. Fifteen dollars a night for some electricity? How about you get fucked you rip off merchants. Anyway the room was nice and I threw my stuff in, slapped on the sun tan and we headed down to the beach. After a bite to eat we all had a little splash around in the turqouise sea next to the white, white sand and it was quite agreeable.

That night we decided to go to a French place found in the Lonely Planet by name of Le Bistrot, we had no idea where it was so we rang a taxi, turned out it was at the end of the street all of three minutes walk away. Oops. The Tuna I had was decent but the real highlight of the night was the profiteroles for desert, absolutely decadent mounds of chocolate, choux pastry and creme. A fantastic choice.

Delicious profiterole goodness!!!

The next day I spent lazing on the beach and finishing off the Clancy, by the time I read page 1,030 I had read 500 pages in about 24 hours which is the genius of the man, the build up is fantastic and better than most books on its own but once he flips the switch its like a magnet for your brain, you are hooked until the last full stop. Genius.

On the night myself and Seo had decided to do the night squid fishing tour, I was quite excited about this, it sounded exotic and like something you cant do everywhere. Which is probably true, but only because its utterly uninspiring and a thorough waste of 15 dollars. We went out on a boat at sunset, stood around lots, ate some squid the people had brought on to the boat as the whole boat managed to catch four tiny squid and got dropped off at the pizza place the others had gone to. Shite.

The pizza place was good though, aside from the bullfrog choir in attendance, if I want a natural chorus to accompany my al fresco eating I would prefer it not to be one of the ugliest noises ever if at all possible. How the owners of the restaurant haven’t bought a shit tonne of what ever kills the offending animal and let them loose in the vicinity I will never know. The cacophony would be enough to send me delirious after a couple of days.

The second night provided the last sunset I would see on the island, though I was yet to know it.

The next day was time for our tour of the south part of the island, complete with snorkelling, palm trees and all the other idyllic stuff you could possibly want to pack in. This would hopefully make up for the previous nights borefest. From the first place the boat stopped to snorkel it did more than that. The scenery was delightful, the area’s unspoilt and then they added the fun of jumping off the boat into the sea/ocean we were in. Marvellous.


I spent my day chatting to various people, including two Israeli girls who had done their years in the military. It still puzzles me to this day when people talk about their compulsory military service as I didn’t grow up with the thought of that hanging over my youth. Its an intriguing concept and possibly a lot of people back home would benefit from it immensely, what does everyone think? Oh and I’d just like to mention Inbal, despite being a vegetarian is a master fisherman, she caught four when we went fishing, though I’m claiming one as I reeled it in for her and as I did she caught one on my reel.

For lunch there was a large seafood themed spread, we even had the opportunity to buy a sea urchin to eat, being the adventurous type and always willing to try new foods I got stuck in. It didn’t really taste of all that much but I was assured it was good for my heart and loins so why not? I spent most of the afternoon jumping off the boat with an American and a Swede, after a while we got sick of jumping off the second story and decided jumping off the roof would be a great idea. As you can see in the picture below it most certainly was.

Jumping from the roof of the boat, superb!

Good for my heart and loins and also possibly the thing that tried to remove my organs later!

From there we went to the stunning South Beach itself, only spoiled by an ice cream seller with the most annoying chime song thing I’ve ever heard. He stopped playing it for awhile and I was about to snap and buy a cornetto when he started it up again. He lost my business on principle for being an annoying cock.

South Beach

From there we made a quick stop at a pearl farm and then headed back to the hotel, which is when I started to feel bad. It felt like I had sunstroke and I was merely feeling a little out of it. I found that a touch weird as I’d put my sun tan lotion on five times over throughout the day and tried to stay in the shade as much as possible

I made it back to the room without much in the way of incident. Which is where one of the worst periods of twenty-four hours in my life ever occurred. Not long after I made it back to the room I felt my lunch rocketing up my throat in its desire to no longer be present in my stomach, I just made the toilet before more content than I thought I’d eaten in the past two days combined came up.

Alright, something a bit dodgy, post throwing up I felt a touch better, bit of water and a nap and I’ll be good as new, right?


Less than twenty minutes later, despite having only had a touch of water I was back with my head in the toilet bowl magically producing things from my stomach like some kind of disgusting magician – things obviously multiply in my stomach.

I collapsed on the bed.

Not for long. My head was back in the toilet bowl, at this point I thought I had thoroughly emptied my body, I figured my stomach had claimed the contents of most of my other organs and decided to get rid of those too.

It was getting dark now, on an awful muggy day and I had only a fan. I felt dizzy and could barely stand up.

This however was just the beginning, I spent the rest of the night with my head in the toilet bowl, inbetween times during the next six chucking ups I had the hotel bring me up ice and I tried to drink water so I wasn’t heaving up dry. Linda gave me sympathy and the next morning so did my mother. The girls periodically checked on me and left me along as I looked to be asleep.

I was not. I was suffering like I’ve never suffered before. God knows what had put me in this state. The Squid? The Tuna? The Sea Urchin? Whatever it was I had never thrown up like this in my life, I wasn’t far away from calling myself a taxi to the hospital at this point.

Then it came, one final time with my head in the bowl, the most violent yet. I have never heaved like this in my life. My chest cavity ached and I thought more than one of my organs might be trying to exit my body. Utterly and ridiculously brutal.

Thankfully at this point my body just shut down and I managed a little sleep, the next day was better. I only threw up twice and after those times managed to keep some liquids down. I had planned on doing nothing with the Thursday so it could have been worse but I would rather have been sat on the beach with my book and ipod than laying in bed in the foetal position with a fan on me.

Thursday was a write off but Friday I began to feel somewhat recovered. I sat and read the new book I’d swapped with an English girl there for awhile before heading to the aeroplane. The prop engines still worried me a touch but at this point I just wanted to get back to HCMC with my room and aircon and lay down.

The flight was both short and uneventful. I walked off the plane still feeling mildly sick and got in a taxi. My stomach was screaming at me for food, so I decided to go with something plain and comforting, which ended up being bangers and mash with gravy at bread and butter. Which sat relatively nicely in my stomach and allowed me to go straight to sleep upon my return home.

Love and Organs

J. Xx


4 Responses to “Paradise and the Organ Escape Attempt”

  1. Sorry to hear about the food poisoning. Sounds to me like Scombroid toxin poisoning, and almost certainly from the urchin if you are the only one who got it!!

    Hope you’re feeling better! I had norovirus at christmas/new year time and I threw up so much my stomach muscles were solid and in pain for days after – it was horrid. I did however get to throw up onto the tracks in Kings Cross though which was fun.

    • Interesting, do you know why that would happen? Undercooking? The odd one is bad? Paid extra for the privilege too, bastards!!

      Am feeling much better now thanks. yeah my stomach muscles and abs felt like I’d done the workout of my life for a couple of days lol!

      Throwing up on the tracks is excellent, what did the crowds do upon seeing that?

  2. Would you believe you could go from paradise to hell in one day, island sounds wonderful, the chucking up not good at all!

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