Con Son, Vietnam21 May 2017
As it was our second-to-last full day on the island, we decided to get our asses into gear and look into going snorkelling, having heard that the Con Dau Islands were some of the best locations to do so in the world.
But we couldn't start our day without a visit to a nice cafe! Literally. Its name was Nice Cafe. And it lived up to its name. My peach iced tea was delicious, and Yannick got his coffee fix in the form of ca phe sua da, one of his all time favourite beverages. Our table was upstairs on a balcony overlooking the main street and all the way to the distant mountains. A half coconut shell served as our table's ashtray, and the only other patron at that time was a soldier in uniform.
The French were the first to use Con Dau as a place to house prisoners, and built the first prison on Con Son in 1861. In 1940, the French constructed what are now called the "Tiger Cages", a series of cells that are now live in infamy. The Americans continued to use the cages during the American War, to incarcerate political prisoners from North Vietnam. The cages were deliberately built away from the main prison, though an alleyway, and were not known to the outside world for some time.
Having been recommended the company Dive! Dive! Dive! by a fellow hotel guest, we wandered over to where Google Maps claimed it to be, only to find Phi Yen! Why, that was the very restaurant that we had been looking for the night before! Oh Google, why you so wrong? Phi Yen was not only a restaurant, but also a hotel, and a sign for snorkelling led us inside the lobby. The price of the options was rather steep, so we left with the notion that we would shop around. Just down the road we saw an identical sign, this time leading into a shop called Rainbow Divers. A note on the door read that they would be back later, so we decided to rest for a while at An Hai beach. However, we only walked a few meters down the road when an English couple on a moped pulled up next to us asking if we were looking for Rainbow Divers. It turned out that they were the owners and quoted us a much more reasonable price for a day out snorkelling. We agreed to return to the shop at 18:00 to sort out the particulars.