On Monday 30th March there was a new rule brought in by the authorities which said that there could be no more than 10 people in any one group/place. This meant that the rest of the Oxalis training plan had to be shelved and when Captain Caveman came out of the cave later that day he was told he wouldn’t be going in April. For lunch we went to Capture and of course Captain Caveman had his usual pizza while I dared to try falafal with greek salad, hoping there wouldn’t be any gluten in it. I gave the pitta bread to Captain Caveman to take away and ate the rest, it was really nice and filling but it must’ve had some wheat in it as my stomach was bad before I even left. While we were there the police arrived and told the staff they must close the cafe in order to prevent any Corona virus cases happening in Phong Nha. In the evening Captain Caveman attended a small party with his training group at a restaurant by the river where they had beers and boiled chicken.
Captain Caveman came home and we had a takeaway from Namaste which was really good – our first in the new home and I forgot to take photos of it. While we were eating we noticed there were thousands of green fly all over the inside of the house and we only had a couple of geckos to feed on them. As Mondays go it wasn’t awfully exciting but little did we know that life would be so much less exciting over the next few days/weeks.
On Tuesday 31st March the news came that there would be strict social distancing measures throughout the whole of Vietnam. The announcement said that from 00:00 on 1st April everyone in the country must stay at home and that if you went outside for essential reasons (food, medicine, emergency) you could only be in a maximum of 2 people together. Everyone was to observe the already in place law of wearing a mask in public and now remain 2 metres away from others. All bars and eateries were to closed or only doing takeaways. All public transport between other towns and cities was severely restricted and it was a social distancing initiative for a minimum of 15 days. I had rice crackers for brunch and several cups of herbal tea before taking photos of each page of my passport prior to sending it to Hanoi by post. I wasn’t keen on this but was assured by Captain Caveman that it would be fine and of course I wouldn’t be able to leave Phong Nha anyway before the 15th, which was the exact date my visa expired! We went to the post office and paid 35,000vnd (£1.23ish) to send it recorded over 3 days.
We popped to the shop for essentials and even though this night was the last night of freedom we decided staying in would be the sensible option. Our only short term worry was ‘do we have enough kahlua left?’ as we fixed ourselves a white russian each and parked ourselves in the deckchairs to call my Dad to wish him Happy Birthday. It was good to talk to Dad and he was in good spirits even though they were still self-isolating too.
We had our left over curry from Namaste for dinner and then we chilled out, doing our own thing and feeling quite lucky to be safe. We also started watching Tiger King on Netflix and life would never be the same again.