I was back in Vietnam on a 3 month tourist visa and I was on my way back to Phong Nha on Friday 17th January. Captain Caveman and I were having breakfast by 6am at the lovely Vinpearl hotel in Dong Hoi. I enjoyed the various fresh fruits and pho with a cup of tea before we had to check out and get our lift to Phong Nha. Captain Caveman was off to work in Son Doong, the largest cave in the world, that day and so we had managed to get a couple of seats on the Oxalis staff bus at 6:30am. We were dropped off at our home, the Glass House, and quickly dropped our bags off before heading over to Ho Khanh’s where the other cavers were having breakfast. Captain Caveman went off with two of his colleagues to the exit of Son Doong to do some work with ropes while I headed home to unpack. We had no WiFi because nobody could remember the password and I still didn’t have a sim card. Luckily I had already arranged to meet a friend at Victory Road Villas for lunch and margaritas and so headed down there after giving bluey (my bicycle) a quick pump up. We got on the cocktails and ate nice food; duck with lentils for me, spaghetti with salami and prawns for her. In the evening we had a lovely curry at Namaste where I had my favourite dish of bhuna murg with garlic rice and it was good to be back.
My second day back in Phong Nha, on Saturday 18th January, was a fairly typical day for me. Captain Caveman and his two colleagues had gone off to work at the exit of Son Doong while I did the washing and tidying. We had some more enquiries for the Fire Opal apartment back in Dalyan and I caught up on some blogging. My cold was still there but now I had developed a cough and I felt ill. I’d brought some gluten free snacks over from Turkey so I had those for brunch along with some rice crackers.
After a beer with the caving contingent at Lucky Lucky we all went to Chao Vietnam for dinner. Captain Caveman and I both had pork dishes which were excellent and we shared the very tasty spring rolls. They also sell (almost) gluten-free beer there too so I had to have a couple of those. After dinner Captain Caveman, Josh and I popped over to Underground and I had a white russian to finish off the night! We cycled home and I noticed that this year the street lights were on all the way to our house.
I’d managed to bring some gluten free cornflakes from Turkey with me to Vietnam so on Sunday, 19th January, we headed over to Ho Khanh’s for breakfast and I took my own. Captain Caveman and his two colleagues were once again off to work in Son Doong again while I took up my lady of leisure duties. At lunch I ate at Oxalis Home where I had a rather tasty chicken and cashew nut dish with steamed rice. My throat and cough was getting worse so I ordered a mango smoothie and a ginger tea. I met a 5 year old child who hates mangos but loves bananas and was from Saigon, on holiday and travelling by car – his English and politeness was fantastic. When my meal came he even said he would let me enjoy my lunch and went back to his parents. When Captain Caveman returned we went to Phong Nha Underground for dinner where I had one of my favourite meals, a smoked pork with green beans and rice. I had 3 cups of ginger tea in an attempt to stop the cough and then we went to Momma D’s for a nightcap.
Captain Caveman loves the Gin and Tea for two there so ordered that but I found it dry on my throat and had a whisky instead, purely for medicinal purposes. Back home Captain Caveman was sound asleep but I was struggling to nod off at all, when I did I was waking up at 2am with the sounds of the cockerel.