Our friend, Julia, was coming to visit for 5 days so that she and Captain Caveman could join the Jungle Boss tour, Tiger Cave Series Adventure. That morning we were awake early and in the car by 6:30am on our way to Dong Hoi airport via Chay Lap. I had a bad stomach and almost didn’t go but once we got to Chay Lap to pick up 5 of Captain Caveman’s Son Doong customers we had a bit of a wait as they were all still eating breakfast. Luckily Julia’s flight wasn’t due to land until 08:35am so by the time we had said our goodbyes and walked to the arrivals she was here.
We ‘checked her in’ to our spare room and made arrangements for her to borrow my old bicycle so we could go for a late breakfast at Victory Road Villas. Later we had a couple of cold drinks at Easy Tiger, with Josh too, and then went to D’Arts for the best Bun Cha in town.
I’d already had a couple of ciders and a pepsi when Captain Caveman decided we would be going on a bike ride around Phong Nha, just as it started to get sunny – I had no hat or suncream and even Josh decided to go home but Julia was totally up for it. Of course they zoomed off and I didn’t see Captain Caveman for dust, while Julia felt she had a duty of care to stay with me, especially as I had already moaned it was too hot, it was too far, I didn’t know the way and that Captain Caveman never waits for me. Eventually even she got bored of me being quite a ‘slowy’ and went to catch up but I saw them ahead turn in to a new homestay called Escape.
I had a water and stuck my hot (as in sweaty) legs in the pool to try to cool down while Captain Caveman explained the next exciting part of the route which would bring us the long way to our house. I was assured that it was really easy and Captain Caveman promised he would be right next to us.
Of course it wasn’t easy, I got chased by dogs, splattered with mud by a child who was scooping muddy water from a puddle with a tennis racket (I had to get off and give him what for!) then we got heavy rain. Apart from that, we saw a nice full rainbow which Captain Caveman missed because he sprinted off before the rain started without a word to either of us, so he could get the washing in.
Back home we had a few minutes to get ready and then we were cycling back down to town to eat dinner at Chao Vietnam where I needed wine – a rather delightful 2 carafes of Chardonnay to be precise.
We even witnessed the owner kill a snake, right next to a family with young kids, using only his flipflop – another first for me. Josh had joined us for a beer after his Son Doong briefing but we didn’t go out after dinner because all of them had a tour the next day. I, on the other hand, had a busy few days coming up – I had agreed to do a favour for a friend.