Life Of Two In Asia. Day 10. Trip to Phu Quoc.
It took us exactly a taxi, some walking across the border, another taxi, a ferry and one last taxi to get to this immense bed I am writing from now. We are on the Phu Quoc island in Vietnam. This was supposed to be our holiday within a holiday, a place to finally rest from all the waking-up-at-the-crack-of-dawn-to-visit-temples-or-catch-a-ride-to-a-place thing. Right now I have doubts this will be it.
This post was supposed to be about the trip to Phu Quoc, but there isn’t much to say, except that Cambodian border commissioners asked for a bribe and that we were basically hurdled by people offering taxis pretty much everywhere we went. There is however a bigger, more stringent issue about Phu Quoc I want to address.
Let’s put it this way. The short version is Phu Quoc is death by plastic.
I have mentioned this about Cambodia, how much plastic is everywhere and how little Cambodians do against it. Leaving Phnom Penh by car, I saw fields of plastic. Literally. I thought it might be something more or less isolated to certain areas, or maybe to this country, but no.
Having seen so much plastic everywhere before getting here, I honestly don’t know why I was expecting Vietnam to be any different.
I think … I didn’t think much. Or maybe I was just trying to protect myself by denying a hard truth. Today I have researched the internet a bit more about garbage in Indochina. Apparently, it is a thing. Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, everybody is facing it and they all agree that it’s really bad. I mean, I didn’t expect it to be perfect, but not like this. I have so many friends who’ve been to these places for holidays and none of them mentioned anything about the plastic. Which leaves me with two questions: 1. Have they gotten so used to plastic they don’t notice it anymore? or 2. Are we too precious about this?
Whichever might be true, there is a bigger picture. We suck. Humans suck.
Naturally, such a disaster left us wondering: Can we do something about it? I mentioned refusing straws or plastic bags, but that is hardly enough. To be honest, I really don’t think that tourism is the reason why most of this is happening.
I, for one, had enough of political correctness, so I will say it. Today, on the beach, we saw locals eating and leaving their leftovers under the tables, locals throwing beer cans in the ocean, locals throwing plastic bottles out of running vehicles.
It is a much bigger problem here that can only be fixed through education. People here have other priorities and I can’t judge them for that.
Unfortunately, education is a long range weapon and we need results now. Speaking of that, I couldn’t resist: I got up and pointed as a mad woman at the beer can in the ocean and the idiot who threw it. She was drunk, but she picked it when she saw my face didn’t move. Maybe waited until I was gone and threw it back into the water, but was could I have done? I couldn’t have ripped her head off as much as I wanted.
Consumerism is burying this world into a plastic grave. What is the purpose of our recycling of forbidding single-use plastic recipients in our ivory towers in the West while the rest of the world is drowning in their own plastic waste? I am not saying we shouldn’t do those things (recycle, use less plastic), I am saying we should find a way to make it spread and fast.
Remember all those videos about plastic pollution that make your skin crawl? Well, those are real. We have seen it today. And you will see it too, as soon as you decide to go on an exotic holiday in Asia.
There is no end to this post. Not a happy one, anyway.
I can’t even dare to ask for advice on what to do or how to go by this thing. I feel I can’t really breathe, that is how sad this whole thing makes me. For now, I am lost in desperation. I am on my holiday and I am desperate because we are slowly killing this planet and nobody seems to care.
Good night, friends, wherever you are!