Fishing Boats on the Beach, Kê Gà

I went recently to visit my friends Mark and Phoung who live in the seaside village of Kê Gà about 150 km east of Saigon. The trip by mini-bus from Saigon took around three and a half hours, a good part of which was spent crawling through the traffic generated by Saigon’s vast urban sprawl to get to a new expressway that took me most of the rest of the way. Kê Gà, itself, is a quiet place with residents depending mostly on fishing in the East Sea and the raising of dragon fruit for their livelihoods. The center of town consists of a restaurant or two, a small sample of Vietnam’s ubiquitous noodle shops, and several coffee shops. A number of homestays and a few proper hotels – though none of the big resort variety – are located along the beach or on the highway that runs through town hugging the coast. Visitors it seems are mostly Vietnamese escaping Saigon for a few days of relaxation. Non-Vietnamese faces were few and far between, at least during my stay. Local beaches are pleasant enough, but definitely not of the tropical paradise variety.

To determine how far off the beaten track for foreigners a place is, like many of our kind, I consider the availability of imported Western foods in the area. Mark uses olive oil as representative of all imported foods when making his calculations, and that makes perfect sense to me. After all, you have to draw the line somewhere and being able to buy olive oil seems as reasonable a place as any. In any case, the nearest olive oil to Kê Gà is in a Korean big-box chain store called Lotte located in the small city of Phan Thiết about 45 minutes down the road from Kê Gà. So when you just cannot take another day of steamed rice or bun, you have to plan a drive to get the makings of that eggplant parmesan with penne you are craving.

On the plus side, if you think being out of the house at 8:30 pm constitutes a late night – and I do – then you are almost sure to like Kê Gà.

Kê Gà’s fishing fleet is anchored off shore along various stretches of beach. I presume the covered boats here are also fishing boats or serve the larger, anchored fishing boats in some way, but I do not know their function. That is Kê Gà light house in the background.

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Born in the United States, photographer, bookworm, expatriate

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