Hello from Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam! We are live from an island resort for week 16; Janice's parents are in Asia, and we wanted to get away from the "cold" weather in Guangzhou and head to a beach for a few days. We came here on Friday and will return back on Christmas Eve.
By "cold", I mean a high of about 61 and a low of 43. The low of 43 - about 5 Celsius - threw all the natives into a panic in Guangzhou. It's freezing! It's so cold that Freddie even had to wear long pants to school!
Phu Quoc is an island at the southwest tip of Vietnam; it is separaated from the mainland and did not see any activity during the war. The northern tip of the island is about 2 miles from Cambodia - if that helps to place it any better.
This island is not yet fully developed - but there are grand plans to get there in 5-10 years. The main beach is beautiful - it faces west, so the sunsets are gorgeous - and there are only a few 4-star resorts on the island. The rest is filled with bungalows and small villas rented out by locals or foreigners who landed here. The government has plans, however; a new airport was built; a golf course is in the works (not yet open, however), and there are talks of a casino to be placed in the center of town. There are many Europeans here - it seems to be a big German and Russian destination, although there are a few Americans.
The trip started a bit rough in immigration is Saigon; we got off the plane - and the immigration lines were very long all over the place. We saw one line called "Sky Priority" - which is Delta's version of the red carpet preference for frequent flyers. Vietnam Airlines is a partner of Delta, so we went into that line.
We waited a while - the kids were acting up a bit, as we shooed them back in line. I looked back, and caught the eye of a Russian about 8-9 people behind me.
"You Sky Priority?"
Yes, I declared.
"This is Sky Priority. You Sky Priority?" He held up some sort of badge I could make out.
I pulled out my Platinum and Janice's Gold Card. See? See this? Eat it. I may not have said that, as I did not want to get into a fight against a 35 year old Russian in Saigon. I know it's hard to believe, but I didn't like my chances.
We go to the island the next morning and relaxed. The next day - yesterday - was for boating and snorkeling, which all of us like to do. Lunch was served on the boat- and the delicacy was Sea Urchins! This is a blakc prickly sphere that you slice open and eat the guts out. The guts are like peanut butter; you can put lemon sauce in there and mix it up, or wasabi, or barbeque with peanuts. It was....good? I guess. Not repulsive. Is that a good enough recommendation for you?
After the boat trip all day, we stopped to see the fish sauce factory. Apparently, all the "good" fish sauce served in Vietname\ comes from this factory - and it is a prized brand around the world. We were greeted by 56 barrels of fish and salt - the fish stay in there for up to 1 year, and are pressed regularly.After a year, time is up! The juice is extracted and bottled, and shipped. The ideal content is 42% salt.
And yes, of course, the factory smelled to high heaven of fish. Not pleasant at all.
Today was an easy day at the resort, except Freddie got sick, probably from something he ate last night. He and I were walking to breakfast, when he stopped, started wretching, and threw up 3 times in the gardens. Nice! He said he felt fine after that; we got him some water, and off we went to breakfast.
At breakfast, he said he wanted to try poached eggs. And I let him.......
After about 20 minutes at breakfast, he said he didn't feel well, and wanted to go back to the room. Sure - go ahead. No one went with him.
5 minutes later, I was the first one done, so I went to check up on him. As soon as I got in, he said "uh, Dad? Don't go in the bathroom.....". Great. I opened the door and....he didn't make it to the toilet.
But anyway, he is feeling better now, so we are going for pizza for dinner tonight. Mistake #3?
Anyway - the island here is great, and in 5-10 years it will be modernized as the go-to beach destination in Vietnam. It's nice to be here when it is quiet before all the building comes.
We should have a gambling proposition - which will happen first? First casino in Phu Quoc or first playoff game for the Browns under Haslem? Both are works in progress....maybe Phu Quoc has the edge now.....
On to the games:
Buf 20, Mia 16.
Can't help but think Miami will have a hangover.
Car 27, NO 24.
Feels like a 3 point game either way.
Cin 27, Min 13.
Cinci, at home, needs to make a statement after last weeks' debacle in Pittsburgh.
Den 34, Hou 20.
Hard to believe that Denver still hasn't sewed up the division just yet.
Jax 27, Ten 20.
Jax moved the ball up and down the field last week - turnovers did them in.
KC 31, Ind 24.
No one will show their defensive hand - they will wait until 14 days from now.
StL 23, TB 10.
Did not like the effort that Tampa showed last week.
Dal 31, Was 20.
I know, I know, I know, I know.....it's soooooo tempting to take the Cowboys again. I can't help myself.
Det 27, NYG 24.
I guess the only other team that could compare to the Browns in terms of last second losses is the Lions.
Sea 23, Az 16.
Love the way the Cardinals' D looks.
GB 27, Pit 24.
I am hopelessly biased here. I hope Flynn tears apart the fraud of a cheating Steelers team.
SD 30, Oak 20.
I have no idea how Oakland will play here.
NE 23, Bal 20.
It still is possible that New England can miss the playoffs. I'm betting they show up here.
Chi 31, Phi 28.
I like how the Bears continue to roll on offense.
SF 26, Atl 13.
Who doesn't love Candlestick Park?
Best bets: 18 of them this week....need to make up some ground. Last week: 5-10-1; overall: 107-107-6.
Buf +2 1/2
Mia/Buf under 43
NO/Car over 44 1/2
Cin -8 1/2
Min/Cin under 47 1/2
StL -3 1/2
TB/StL under 43
Ind/KC over 46 1/2
Az/Sea under 49
Pit/GB over 44 1/2
NE +1 1/2
Atl/SF under 45
Supercontest picks: last week: 1-4, to take me out of any contention. Overall: 37-34-4
Jax +5 1/2
NE +2 1/2
Having problems with loading pictures....will edit later...