Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 7

Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 7

For breakfast on Sunday 7th June we both had a fry up. Captain Caveman had the Cowboy breakfast again and I had my own version of it. We did lots of swimming and Captain Caveman took a video of me from above so I could see my leg movements and where they needed to improve. We had booked to stay just one more night and by lunch time I had worked up an appetite. I had the fresh spring rolls for lunch and Captain Caveman went for the, highly recommended by Veronika, Aussie pie (not on the menu) which was chock full of meat and looked delicious.

It was one week in to June and I still hadn’t been home yet – Ben, Bich and Veronika were really looking after me so much I didn’t want to leave. After more swimming in the afternoon and chilling out it was time for our last dinner at Little Lies. Veronika joined us for a glass of wine but had already eaten a late lunch at The Villas so wasn’t hungry. We were joined by Leah and David the yoga teachers who were nearing the end of their stay too. I had the beef in bamboo dish, which I was very partial to while Captain Caveman had a dish I had overlooked, pork clay pot! I only managed the one glass of red wine and felt I’d had enough – I’d grown very fond of the sparkling wine and had missed it this evening. We said our farewell to our guests and got ready for a good sleep, I only had one complaint about that bed – it being too difficult to get out of in a morning! It was definitely the comfiest bed that I had experienced in Vietnam and I would definitely miss the luxury and 5 star service.

Photo credits Ben Mitchell, Captain Caveman & Caroline Borrow

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Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 6

Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 6

By Saturday 6th June I had been away from Phong Nha village and our house for almost a week and was enjoying my rest and relaxation at Little Lies pool villa, part of the newly opened Jungalo Collection at Phong Nha Farmstay. I was feeling like the luckiest person in the world right now and to be able to have daily baths and no stairs to tackle was making my life so much easier. I met Veronika for breakfast and she remarked I seemed to be getting a bit more confident on the walk to the main pool and restaurant area, which was promising. My crutches were getting a little worn out though and my underarms were starting to hurt from lack of padding. There were a few of us at the table for breakfast and I was about to go back up to start my swimming and exercising when I got messages from Caroline and Momma D to say they were coming over to see me. Rather than take the time to walk back to the villa to come back again to eat lunch I decided to stay sat where I was and then we could order food. Shannon and Stu also arrived but Stu decided to leave his wife to it when it turned in to a ladies lunch. Caroline had brought her new friend, Ha, who was staying in Phong Nha for a month to learn English and I think my Yorkshire accent may have been a bit too much for her. Momma D still hadn’t arrived as she had got held up, in Dong Hoi but arrived a little bit later, as did Veronika, who rejoined for lunch. Caroline ordered some sparkling wine which was very nice. I ordered the smoked duck salad, Caroline had the chicken thighs with rice and veg, and Shannon the Nem Lui. I tried to keep conscious of not drinking too much wine as I needed to be able to walk back to the villa safely and I still hadn’t done my daily aqua exercises or any Turkish language work yet. Shannon had to work later so didn’t drink too much and when Momma D arrived she had just a soda water and brought Caroline a present of tequila coffee – something I had never seen the like before. By this time we were on to a third bottle of wine, a Riesling which we didn’t finish.
After lunch Caroline and Ha escorted me back to the villa (with the wine) where the girls stripped off to there undies and jumped in the pool, it was so hot I did the same (I had black boy shorts and black bra, which looked as good as a bikini), Ha then said she couldn’t swim. Within half an hour Caroline had taught Ha how to swim and they were having a laugh in the pool – we even got on some of Ben’s photos.
At 4pm I spoke to Captain Caveman who had returned from the cave and was off to his gala dinner that night. He would do his best to ask the driver to bring him over to the Farmstay to join me after dinner, then stay over. Veronika and I enjoyed another pleasant evening, I had the duck a l’orange again and we, of course, enjoyed more fizz. Captain Caveman returned at almost bedtime and I had a glass of the Riesling (left in the fridge after lunch). I think Captain Caveman was hoping I would be miraculously walking again but I could only crutch about, still the pain was definitely lessening.

Photo credit – Ben Mitchell & Captain Caveman

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Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 5

Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 5

I woke up in the early hours of Friday 5th June with indegestion and a bad stomach caused by the red wine, I’m sure. I eventually went back to sleep and didn’t wake up until 7:45am. I decided to have breakfast at the poolside of Little Lies and kept to fruit and yogurt. I did some swimming and exercises and then had a meeting which I attended in my swimwear!
For lunch I had bun cha and diet coke and then did a bit of Turkish and some writing by the pool. I had another swim in the afternoon and was going to have a nap but never had the time.

That evening Veronika and I dined alfresco again with a bottle of fizz between us and a very tasty but healthy chicken dish. We had a video call from our friend and housemate Chrissy who was doing well, with Watto, back in Yorkshire. I’d really got used to the private villa lifestyle and the time had gone so fast, that night was my 5th night’s stay! Tomorrow Captain Caveman was due back from Hang Son Doong and my stay at Phong Nha Farmstay was nearing it’s end. I was already plotting my return stay and was secretly hoping I could manage to make it a regular holiday within a holiday for me, especially while I was recuperating.

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Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 4

Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 4

I woke up at 5.15am on Thursday 4th June but I didn’t get out of that super comfy bed at Little Lies until gone 7:30am. I was escorted to breakfast by Veronika where I had a lovely pho ga and we were joined by a member of the yoga class.
I spent all morning swimming and exercising in the pool, did a spot of Turkish lesson and generally enjoyed the surroundings. The staff were looking after me; from keeping the pool clean and garden plants watered, bringing me fresh water and food to cleaning the villa – all the staff were lovely.

I had fried spring rolls and ginger beer for lunch and rested with my leg up – my ankle was very swelled compared to that morning, so I didn’t want to overdo it!!

For dinner Veronika joined me and we enjoyed the evening sat at the dining table by the pool. I had the beef in bamboo, Veronika an Aussie pie for dinner and we had some red wine, but stuck to the one glass. Since my accident I hadn’t really found that red wine agreed with me that much, maybe it was psychological. I’m not sure where the time was going but before I knew it the night had ended and I was in bed listening to one of the songs to inspire the name of the accommodation in the Jungalo Collection at Phong Nha Farmstay. The room next door was called Gypsy.

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Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 3

Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 3

I found out on Wednesday 3rd June that I wasn’t the only cripple in the village! I had slept with the curtains open and woke up at 5am in plenty of time to see the sun rising. I even spoke to Captain Caveman before he set off on his Son Doong tour that morning. Veronika came over to Little Lies to accompany me on my walk to breakfast. I had the phone numbers of reception and kitchen/bar staff so there was no need to leave the pool villa for anything but it was good exercise to walk to the main pool and dining area of the Phong Nha Farmstay. Veronika is definitely a natural carer and walked at the same pace as me, offering support, encouragement and patience where needed – I was very slow and a little nervous of falling on her. We had a lovely, very leisurely breakfast where I enjoyed the pho ga, orange juice and green tea. I’d not seen so many people in a while and it was nice to be joined at the big table by some of the yoga/meditation bunch for a bit of chit chat. We were still there when school finished for the morning for Ben & Bich’s youngest, and then something incredible happened. Ben arrived closely followed by not one, but two men, both on crutches and injured legs! Multi had suffered with a bad knee after a motorbike accident and Steve had broken his foot jumping on to the deck of a boat at Monkey Island, Cat Ba. Bich informed us the government had some spare cash for disabled people at the moment and that we should apply for funds – injury comparison discussions and photo taking ensued. Multi gave me a recommendation for a good physio who had managed to get him moving again and I decided I would go to see her next week.

Ben and the gang were off to the Pub with Cold Beer for some farm to table chicken with peanut sauce for lunch and I got invited along. Check out this video made by guests at Phong Nha Farmstay:

I really wanted to go but I had to stay focused on why I was checked in to this marvellous retreat in the first place. Rehab had to be my priority so I decided to get back to the pool villa for some swimming and exercises. Veronika kindly walked back with me and we planned to meet up later, there was talk of some sparkling wine joining us too. I did lots of pool exercises which freed up my knee a bit but my ankle then started to hurt more, I practiced walking across the width of the pool but could only manage 2 widths. I sat by the pool while doing some writing and learning Turkish then ordered some fresh spring rolls for lunch. I needed to take photos of the place but I was struggling to get good enough ones because of crutching and navigating about with a phone stuffed in my swimmers or bumbag! In the afternoon another milestone was reached, I had swam the most so far and then managed to have a short stint of a stand up shower (in the concrete bath) and I was so excited.

I chilled out until before sunset and then Veronika and I had a dinner which I could only have dreamed of a few weeks ago. Duck a l’orange and champagne (well, a fine Australian fizz to be precise) both went down very nicely. Veronika and I swapped stories and spoke of travels and funny encounters we had had. By the time Bich and her youngest popped over Veronika and I were very happy and relaxed. It was nice to be merry on half a bottle of fizz these days and I was in bed fast asleep by 10pm.

Photo credit Bich Le

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Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 2

Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 2

I woke up from an amazing sleep and had already missed the daily meditation session at the Phong Nha Farmstay on Tuesday 2nd June. I was looking forward to pho ga for breakfast and so we walked down to the bar and pool area to eat. I wasn’t confident on a certain section of the path where there was the slope but I managed to get down without falling, which was a bonus. I had to drink lots of water once we got seated as I hadn’t been used to walking far outside, for so long. I also had green tea and a juice, Captain Caveman decided to upgrade and treat himself to the Big Cowboy Breakfast with coffee and juice – worth paying the extra for if you’re hungry! We got chatting with the owners, Ben & Bich, it turned out the pool villa we had spent last night in was available for longer and we were welcome to book in for another night or more if we fancied it. I already didn’t want to leave and because it was newly opened we were able to take advantage of the soft opening special rates! We found out the story behind the books on the shelves and it made us laugh – be sure to ask Ben about it when you visit and check out the link below:

Great Books and Movies about Vietnam

Captain Caveman was off to do his briefing that evening and going to Son Doong the next day so wouldn’t be able to stay but we all agreed that the exercise, swimming and interaction with others would be good for me and I agreed to stay on for a bit longer. I ate a great bun cha for lunch while Captain Caveman snaffled down another pizza (he chose a different flavour for variety). Once Captain Caveman and I had said our goodbyes I took full advantage of that private pool. I had no time for writing, learning Turkish, Netflix or reading a book – I was working on getting my leg moving!

Little Lies came into its own that evening for a spot of entertaining. Not only did I enjoy a lovely dinner with a drop of red wine but I was joined by Veronika who is always such great company with genuinely good conversation. Other expats in the area stopped by to say hi too and it was nice to catch up with Ben, Bich and the kids later too where I found out I’m rubbish at making paper aeroplanes.
We went steady on the wine and before I went to bed I spoke to Captain Caveman to update him that I had managed a lot more exercise and that I could now pretend to ride a bicycle in the pool. He looked sweaty and tired but not enough for me to feel too sorry for him as I knew he was really looking forward to getting back on tour. He had a full group and I said I would stay at the Farmstay until he got back, when it would be time to return to the clinic for physio. I got in bed and before I could read a paragraph of my book I had fallen asleep in that huge comfy bed!!

Photo credit Captain Caveman

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Phong Nha – 1st June

Phong Nha – 1st June

Monday 1st June, a new week, a new month and a new place to stay! We were up early, Captain Caveman had a car booked for 9am to take us to Capture café. I was excited to be going out for breakfast and managed the bum shuffle downstairs a little quicker than the last time, while Captain Caveman carried my crutches and bag. They do a great smoothie at Capture so we both ordered one and I stuck to my usual bacon, beans and potatoes while Captain Caveman had beans on toast with two fried eggs, cheese and a swirl of brown sauce (he’s an animal)! The staff were attentive and there was just us there on account of Phong Nha having very few tourists or visitors around. I managed to visit the toilet (after sending Captain Caveman in for a safety check) and crutched around fairly steadily. After breakfast Captain Caveman instructed me to walk to the road to get our lift, I used the big ramp outside and found it easier than stairs. I’d not realised before but Capture café is geared up for people with disabilities like mine.
The car arrived and it was Ben, he was taking us over to Phong Nha Farmstay where we were going to stay the night!

The walk to the poolside of the main building went better than I envisaged and is flat so I was capable of navigating to a comfy seat. The friendly staff brought us a cold lemongrass towel which was so refreshing and a welcome drink, they made sure we had a fan directed at us. We met Mai, the customer relations person, who would be looking after us and showing us to the brand new accommodation at the Phong Nha Farmstay – The Jungalo Collection Villas were now open!

Captain Caveman went to the room, or should I say our pool villa, to drop off bags while I enjoyed a second ginger beer with ice (I know how to live it up). It was very sunny and where we were going to be staying was a short walk for an able person but a tiring one for crutching so I stayed where I was. When I did set off I was very slow and Captain Caveman went on ahead but waited at the very short, but steep, sloping entrance to the path which went to our new home, Little Lies. I struggled a bit, he had to push on my back to stop me falling backwards and I was a sweaty mess by the time we got to the door.

You could be forgiven for thinking the decorator was radically colour blind and that he had borrowed someone else’s paints, at first, but it did have the wow factor. The private pool had non-slip stone edges and integral steps, there was a full size fridge, the high ceilings and outside living area were impressive. The bed and linen were the best I’d encountered in Vietnam and I had to ask Bich (the owner) where it can be bought. There were fresh flowers on the dining table, a kitchenette and the bathroom was fantastic. The concrete, non-slip sunken bath was my favourite thing in there and ideal for my injuries. The internal doors are wonderfully carved as well as great at keeping out noise and light but Captain Caveman favoured the book collection the most.

We had a swim and then ordered lunch which is brought by the lovely kitchen and bar staff, directly to the dining table in the villa. I had the spring rolls which were good quality while Captain Caveman enjoyed his sausage baguette (hot dog to us lot) and chips. We had lots of water already in the fridge, with chilled glasses and it’s reassuring to see that plastic bottles are a no-no in this establishment. From the outside of the pool villas there is a monster set of limestone junk boat sails which could be interpreted as a set of dragon wings or maybe even butterfly wings from a distance – an ideal Instagram spot just begging for the opportunity to be hashtagged!

There was lots of use of the pool, chatting to visitors and then our friend, Veronika, joined us before sunset so we could have a drop of wine and some food. I found the villa so easy to get around and the food was top notch. I’d not even gone to bed but I knew already this was going to be the best place to stay in Phong Nha. After dining by our private pool on Nem Lui for me, pizza for Captain Caveman and an Aussie pie for Veronika we were stuffed and retired to our rooms. I’m not saying the bed is big but I had to put my glasses back on so I could see Captain Caveman at the other side of it as we finished wine in bed.

Photo credit to Captain Caveman and Ben Mitchell for use of some of their photos

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Phong Nha – A Food Lover’s Delight

Phong Nha –  A Food Lover’s Delight

There are so many places to eat in Phong Nha now that when I leave here I find my choices much more limited. I have a few allergies (gluten, mollusks & chillies) plus I’m a fussy eater, who really can’t stomach quite a few foods, which makes me a less than ideal dinner date. I’m far from thin and never go hungry here in Phong Nha so I decided to write a list of the places we have eaten at and what their stand out dish is (including Captain Caveman’s favourites too).

1. Namaste – Lamb Samosa

2. East Hill – Chicken & sticky rice

3. Phong Nha Underground – Tamarind chicken

4. Vung Hue – Pork Ribs

5. Phong Nha Vegan – Mushroom Lalot

6. Little Leaf – scallops

7. Little Vietnam – Pho

8. Funny Monkeys – Pork fried rice

9. Co Diep – Hot pot

10. Momma D’s – Sausages

11. Capture Café – Cheese plate

12. Phong Nha Coffee Station – Eggs Benedict

13. Oxalis Home – Chicken & cashew nuts

14. You & Me – Chicken fried rice

15. The Villas – Confit Duck Leg

16. D’Arts – Bun Cha

17. Lake House – Pizza

18. Lucky Homes – Roast Pork with fried rice

19. Phong Nha Farmstay – Nem Lui

20. Veggie Box – Vegan soup

21. Coco House – Clay pots

22. Bamboo Cafe – Shepherd’s pie

23. Chao Vietnam – Fried spring rolls

24. Thang Nhung – BBQ pork

25. Banh Xeo (at the market) – Banh Xeo

26. Pub with Cold Beer – Chicken & peanut sauce

27. Moi Moi – Pork cooked in Bamboo

28. Gecko hostel – Western food

29. Chay Lap Farmstay – Mushroom curry

30. Nguyen Shack Lake Hill – Mango sticky rice

Phong Nha – the end of staying in!

Phong Nha – the end of staying in!

I know for a lot of us May had seemed like a long month but on the whole I like to try and stay positive. At the end of May I did a bit of a check on what had changed over the month and I started to make some plans for June. To be honest I still didn’t know where I would be at the end of June, but if it was still in Phong Nha then I needed to make some changes and get my leg better.
I think I had lost weight in May but it was impossible to tell without being able to stand on the scales at Ho Khanh’s. This blog was doing well, which astounded me given that most of last month was about staying at home with an injured leg and arguing with Captain Caveman. I can only imagine that was one good thing to come out of the extended lockdown in other countries – lots of people could identify with being cooped up with a partner and unable to go out. This last 6 weeks had shown me how Captain Caveman’s priorities work and his ‘tough love’ approach to helping me get better was not particularly making me recover quicker. We spend so much time apart usually and when we are together we do our own thing a lot so it was definitely getting to him and I was tired. Still, at least my blog was entertaining enough for people who empathised with me or sympathised with Captain Caveman as we went through the month. The highest views came from the UK and Vietnam then Australia, followed by Turkey and then the Netherlands. This month I had a few new countries reading – Finland, Cape Verde, Bahrain and Panama.
As for the dreadful Corona virus which had been around for about 6 months now and almost in Vietnam, it was hard to take in the severity of it in my home country. I should have been back to Turkey and to England by now, like everyone else I’d missed lots of events but was pleased most had been moved to 2021. At the beginning of May the UK had reported 177,000 cases and were 4th in the world rankings. By the end of May they had reported 274,700 cases and were in 5th place, thanks to Brazil. It was awful that another 100,000 people had caught the virus, given that people should have been taking precautions and staying at home. The Corona deaths in the UK were unbelievable at almost a further 11,000 in one month taking it from 27,500 to 38,400 and still ranking second in the world. I was appalled at how badly it was being handled and I worried a lot about my family and friends – particularly the vulnerable ones, those working on frontline and those having essential hospital treatment.
For June I was focusing on physio and with Captain Caveman going in to Son Doong for 4 tours this coming month he was going to be much happier – I’m sure I would also enjoy the rest too. To start the month Captain Caveman had organised a little break, hoping to boost my recovery.

He’d even packed my bag for me, filled with all the essentials:

What’s in the bag? 35 items packed by Captain Caveman

What’s in the bag?  35 items packed by Captain Caveman

At the moment I’m rather immobile I am not the quickest at being able to pack a bag. In fact I can’t carry anything from the wardrobe and drawers to the bed, a short distance away. So it was up to Captain Caveman to pack for me for any outings and here is what was in my bag:

1. Sunglasses
2. Contact lenses
3. Hairbrush
4. Underwear
5. Travel towel
6. Swimwear
7. Toothbrush
8. Toothpaste
9. Shampoo bar
10. Conditioner bar
11. Body wash bar
12. Suncream
13. After sun lotion
14. Nail clippers
15. Foot file
16. Nail file
17. 2 dresses
18. 1 pair of shorts
19. 3 t-shirts/tops
20. Comfy shoes
21. Sarong
22. Trousers
23. Socks
24. Mosquito repellent
25. Sun hat
26. Sleepwear
27. Phone charger
28. Book
29. Crossword puzzles
30. Moisturiser for feet
31. Diary
32. Notebook and pen
33. Medications
34. Bumbag
35. Headphones

Captain Caveman’s 25 Caring Duties

Captain Caveman’s 25 Caring Duties

I didn’t think that looking after me could be so demanding but Captain Caveman assured me it was hard work. Of course I know he’s much better suited to being in a cave and he definitely does not take kindly to being bossed about. If the shoe was on the other foot (if only it would fit) then I hope I would be a much less angry and more reliable carer. I decided to illustrate how tough it is has been for him this far by making this list of 25 things he has been doing for me since tearing ligaments 8 weeks ago:

1. Washing and hanging out clothes & bedding

2. Putting dry clothes away

3. Opening and closing curtains (several times per day due to sun direction)
4. Washing up
5. Picking up my used towels and laundry plus anything I drop and can’t retrieve
6. Turning lights on and off (particularly where switches are hard to reach like behind the fridge)
7. Moving table and chairs between window view and near the fridge

8. Making tea (hot and iced)

9. Restocking the fridge
10. Buying/collecting shopping, medication & meals.
11. Emptying the bins
12. Drying the bathroom floor after wetting it
13. Putting toilet seats down

14. Getting me things down from high shelves
15. Collecting food deliveries from downstairs

16. Organising trips to Dong Hoi or elsewhere
17. Opening things (wine bottles, jars, things I can’t risk smashing)

18. Arranging for any visitors to get in to see me
19. Preparing for leaving the house by packing my bag and passing my shoes
20. Passing me things from the fridge and then putting things back in the fridge
21. Going ahead to suss out safety when outside the house (cafe toilets & access mainly)
22. Fixing my crutches when they malfunction
23. Saving geckos from scrapes and beasties

24. Being in charge of the fan (speed and position)
25. Removing ants from rice crackers so that I can eat them

Phong Nha – the last weekend of May

Phong Nha – the last weekend of May

It was 6 weeks already since the post ‘lockdown’ drinking celebration which landed me in my current housebound situation. On Friday 29th May Turkey announced that travel restrictions between cities will be lifted from 1st June. This is good news for Dalyan as they will hopefully benefit from domestic tourism and restaurants can open. There was talk of some international flights being allowed from 15th July.
Vietnam had no more updates as it remained on 84% recovery rate. The world had 4,100 more deaths, 112,800 new cases and 80,100 recoveries. The UK was now at 269,100 cases (an increase of 1,900) and 37,800 deaths (up 400) deaths.
For breakfast I had tofu garden rolls from the fridge with oolong tea. Captain Caveman was out most of the day with friends so I ate some sweets for lunch so that I could take my tablets and I did as much exercise as I could handle. I just wanted to be able to look after myself now as I couldn’t completely rely on anyone else’s help (on my terms) and I was very frustrated. Capture cafe had reopened today and I got a very thoughtful photo from Captain Caveman of the pizza he was eating at 4pm! Lung, the cleaner, came and so I did some Turkish then spoke to friends in Dalyan on a video call. It was nice to catch up with one of my good friends there as well as say hello to the owners of one of my favourite bars. Everyone was missing me and hoped I would come back soon and it looked really lovely.
Captain Caveman made it back in time for the East Hill sticky rice and BBQ chicken delivery at 6:30pm and it was as delicious as always. We had words and he promised that the next day he would get me food at meal times, I didn’t hold my breath.

A baby from Russia was the latest reported Corona case in Vietnam on Saturday 30th May and 1 recovery. The world reported 88,500 cases, 70,800 recoveries and 3,400 deaths in the last day. The UK cases weren’t slowing but the deaths were; a further 2,100 cases (total 271,200) and 300 deaths (total 38,100). Turkey had 1,200 more cases but no more deaths in the last 24 hours.
I was excited to be getting a Capture cafe breakfast of bacon, potatoes and beans as Captain Caveman headed down there, after nipping in Oxalis, for his breakfast and to bring me the takeaway, which didn’t materialise. Instead I ate gluten free biscuits for breakfast and then had the tofu garden rolls as a salad, with the leftover chicken for my lunch. It turned out that Captain Caveman had only got as far as coffee at Ho Khanh’s. He had never made it to Oxalis or Capture and forgot about my breakfast (and his) and started drinking beers with his friends. At 3.30pm he called me to tell me I had 1 hour to get ready as a car was picking me up and they were taking me to the Villas for Happy Hour. They were already pissed and I wasn’t impressed – a car coming at 4.30pm was hardly what I had in mind for a day out. I reluctantly went as I knew I would want dinner and we met other friends there too. The Villas is disabled friendly and I could use the ramp up to the dining area. Captain Caveman lost it with me because I chose the ramp over the stairs and started shouting. I was already beginning to wish I had not bothered coming and ordered my first alcoholic drink since the injury night. I had loads of popcorn and made my margarita last over an hour, because I’d been used to only drinking water most of the time I wasn’t used to the taste. I had a duck salad from the specials menu which was fantastic. while Captain Caveman devoured a massive burger and more drinks. I had 2 small glasses of red wine but decided that was enough. We were home before 9pm and I was very tired after bum shuffling up the stairs and arguing with Captain Caveman I told him I was fed up of his unreliability and I needed a Plan B. He admitted I was asking far too much of him and it didn’t leave him enough time to do his own things and he hated me nagging him all the time. It was a bloody good job I didn’t have anything seriously wrong with me but nevertheless I said I would try to only ask for help where absolutely necessary. Mentally, I decided to focus on getting better and if I couldn’t do it myself not to bother asking him for it and either wait for him to offer, or do without.

I was so tired on the morning of Sunday 31st May, after very little sleep. Captain Caveman had a wonderful sleep, full of loud snoring immediately after our argument.
I had Revive and gluten free biscuits for breakfast while Captain Caveman went over to Ho Khanh’s for coffee. The data on the app was playing up and showing only 20 new cases in the world – even for a weekend that was extremely unlikely. The UK was finally decreasing in numbers and had only 1,600 new cases and 200 deaths in the last day. Turkey had 1,000 new cases and a 100 deaths.
At lunch time I was contemplating what items I could get from the fridge when Captain Caveman returned holding a takeaway bag with Capture written on it. He apologised and said he was just getting frustrated that I can’t seem to do a lot of things for myself yet. He brought me bacon, chips and beans which was really tasty and I’d not had bacon for a long time.
After doing some Turkish lessons we had some crisps and finished off the red wine we had brought home from The Villas last night. For dinner we had Namaste and I spoke to one of my best friends back home who’s birthday it was – I should have been back there celebrating with her. We went to bed and set the alarm – Captain Caveman had organised something a little bit different for the next day.

Phong Nha – the last week of May

Phong Nha – the last week of May

The last week of May started with a mango for breakfast and some oolong tea while Captain Caveman went out to Coffee Station for his coffee fix and eggs benedict. While he was out I got a message from a friend who wanted to visit and we managed to arrange for her to pick the keys up so she could come in. It was good to see her and I was pleasantly surprised that the Phong Nha gossip had not got as far as her so she didn’t realise I was now a fully fledged member of the ramp user club. I had chicken leftovers from the fridge for lunch and Captain Caveman had Indian leftovers.
Vietnam had one new case of Corona (in quarantine) and 5 new recoveries and it looked like the British pilot was going to be staying in Vietnam to continue treatment without a lung transplant. The Vietnamese medics were doing absolutely everything they could to make sure he didn’t die. The world data showed a bit of a decrease in numbers due to it being a Monday; 94,600 new cases, 2,600 deaths and 55,100 recoveries.
In the afternoon I did more Turkish lessons and had some popcorn which Captain Caveman brought me from The Villas so that I have healthy snacks when he goes missing for a few hours. He went for happy hour with friends at The Villas and then to Momma D’s while I waited patiently for my dinner. When it came it was a surprise portion of pork fried rice from Funny Monkeys.

On Tuesday 26th May there was nothing much out of the ordinary for me, being stuck at home. The Corona data showed no further cases in Vietnam and the world reported the lowest deaths I had seen in a long while. There were only 1,100 deaths, 89,500 new cases and 63,600 recoveries. The world had over 5.5 million cases now and as far as I could see the UK were not doing much to tackle the problem there. They now had 261,000 cases and 36,900 deaths which was hard to get my head around – there was talk of perhaps closing borders and bringing in a tracking process next month. Turkey seemed to be fairing a bit better by keeping the young and old populations on permanent lockdown, making the wearing of masks and social distancing enforceable by the authorities and generally being strict. Turkey had 4,300 deaths now and 157,800 cases while the USA was nearing 100,000 deaths and looked unlikely to ease any time soon.
I did my exercises and found I could bend my leg a fraction more and could almost straighten it but still not quite. Captain Caveman had gone out and so I was still in my PJs at 10am, finishing off the brie and rice crackers we had left, as well as 6 rambutans, for breakfast. Captain Caveman went to Little Leaf for lunch to have scallops, as he hadn’t been there for a while and he brought me some spring rolls for lunch. It got hotter in the afternoon and, even with the Aircon on, it was 35.6°C indoors at 16:51.
Geraldine (the gecko) came out to play and was checking out a tray and trying to jump about. Captain Caveman went out to Momma D’s and I stayed home and ate M&Ms and crisps. He returned with gluten free sausages and a jacket potato for my dinner. Captain Caveman had the chicken which was stuffed with cream cheese and spinach then wrapped in bacon and he really liked it.

It was a busy day in my world on Wednesday 27th May. First I checked in on the app and saw Vietnam had 1 new Corona case (in quarantine). The world had not slowed as I had hoped; 94,400 new cases, 64,800 recoveries and 4,300 deaths in a day.
Before breakfast, of which Captain Caveman was out already for his, I went online to rebook my Easy Jet flight. I had a flight booked from Turkey to the UK at the end of April which I couldn’t book for a similar date next year so I had took a chance and booked it for one month later, guessing that flight would also cancel but the new flights for 2021 would be out by then. Like many people I still had no future plans but I didn’t want to waste the flight so I rescheduled it for April 2021.
By 9am it was already 32°C and it was going to be a hot day with none of the storms that were predicted! I had leftover sausage for breakfast and after Captain Caveman had finished at Oxalis he brought me lunch. I was excited to be having chicken and cashew nuts with steamed rice which is one of my favourite Oxalis Home dishes, he’d already had a sandwich.
Captain Caveman had been meaning to fix our broken bed (one of the slats had come loose) and decided to just start doing it. He was a hot sweaty mess and could have done with a hand when it was all in pieces and he didn’t have a screw driver. I half jokingly suggested he swapped it with the bed that wasn’t broken in the other room and then he did, without any help from anyone, because he didn’t need to!!!
I managed to complete some Turkish lessons and do a bit of writing while Captain Caveman went to Namaste for dinner with friends. Geraldine came to sit with me and decided she would like to have a Netflix and chill night – she was a bit of a remote control hogger! Later that night I got Afghani chicken and chips from Namaste brought home for me and I saved some chicken for the next day.

Rain was forecast on Thursday 28th May and it eventually came mid morning. Before that I did my usual check on the world of corona; Vietnam had 6 more recoveries and stood at an 85% recovery rate. The world had added another 67,000 recoveries, 107,000 cases and 5,200 deaths in a day.
It was leftovers for lunch and then Captain Caveman popped to Oxalis to help amend a document, while I did my usual tasks. At 7:30pm I heard from Captain Caveman who had decided to have beers at Lucky Lucky, meet the 6pm brigade and was now heading to Phong Nha Underground. I knew if he ate there and ordered mine it would be at least another hour before I would get to eat and I needed food to take my tablets. I had a Snickers and went to bed with the face on. At 9:20pm I was back out of bed eating my late dinner of a falafel salad while Captain Caveman put a quilt cover on.

Danang – Sunday brunch at the Intercontinental

Danang – Sunday brunch at the Intercontinental

Being stuck at home on crutches offers plenty of time for reflection and so I decided to share a short post about one of my favourite experiences in Danang. My latest visit was around this time last year when I had a holiday from work and we chose to do something fancy.

On Sunday 2nd June 2019 Josh and Tatas knocked on our hotel door at 8.30am, after they had got the night bus down from Phong Nha. We were all booked in for Sunday Brunch at the Intercontinental in Danang that afternoon and we were all looking forward to it. We went to a cafe for drinks beforehand and we discovered something none of us knew about Josh – he’s scared of people wearing mascot outfits!

We all dressed up in our nicest togs and took a Grab up to the stunning restaurant. We’ve been a few times now but it was Josh and Tatas first time. You can choose different packages depending on what you would like to drink. The brunch lasts for 3 hours and there is an amazing choice of food for you to feast on. Of course Captain Caveman and I went for the free-flowing champagne option while the other two stayed on the soft drinks. As usual the food was really good and I ate so much I was probably undoing all the weight loss over the last 7 months but I didn’t care. I ate so many prawns, I really liked the duck and of course I got a bit tipsy. The cheeseboard was pretty good for Vietnam but the gluten free bread inedible so I stuck to the rice crackers.

After the meal we went to the beach and we took lots of photos and had another drink in the bar.
In the evening our two friends went to Hoi An while Captain Caveman and I went back to the hotel for a nap, planning to get up later and go out – I woke up at midnight with a hangover.

Photo credit to Tatas and Josh for all the good ones!

Phong Nha – the 4th weekend of May

Phong Nha – the 4th weekend of May

On Friday 22nd May At 7am it was 30°C, it was going to be a hot one. Vietnam had 2 more Corona recoveries making it back to 82% recovered out of the 324 total cases in the country, still no deaths although there was speculation of the British man having to be flown elsewhere for a lung transplant.
The world had a massive 108,760 new cases, 4,876 deaths and 58,500 more recoveries for yesterday. The UK had slipped in to 5th (with over 250,000) in the world cases as Brazil went mental, they had reached 36,000 (2nd in the world) for deaths. Turkey was 9th with 153,000 cases and 14th with 4,249 deaths.
At our apartment in Dalyan the pool had been cleaned and filled and was ready for our guest who had moved in earlier that week and it made me wish I was there, swimming in it!

I didn’t have time for breakfast as Captain Caveman called me to say to start making my way down the stairs as the car and driver were on their way from Oxalis now! My shoes were still outside so I had to wait for him to come and help me get them as I couldn’t reach them. I went down the stairs on my bum much quicker than the previous time and Mr Toan was waiting patiently to get me in the car.
We drove straight to An Khang clinic in Dong Hoi and we went in, we were unable to get a translator but we managed fine as they remembered me and the girls spoke some English and were friendly. They asked us to wait 1 hour for the physio doctor and popped us in the ultrasound room with the Aircon on. I had my blood pressure taken which was normal and then we sat and waited, while numerous pregnant women came in for their baby scans. We hadn’t seen one before and it wasn’t fascinating, we also saw a sick baby who had something wrong with it’s tummy. I hate needles so when there were any blood tests done I had to look away.
When the physio came he looked at all my x-ray, ultrasound and MRI results and then got me to lay down on the bed. He manhandled my legs and I was in lots of pain and he asked me to put weight on my bad foot and walk across the room, which was hard. The verdict was to get rid of the compression bandages and practice walking with the crutches for 2 weeks then come back. It was a bargain fee of 100,000vnd (£3.50) which is amazing. We had no time to do anything in Dong Hoi, although I had hoped to meet Des in his lunch hour and possibly have a white russian and lunch at Tree Hugger, because Mr Toan had to get back to Phong Nha. I was a sweaty mess once I had bum shuffled back to the top floor of our house, stripped off and sat down.
I had leftover chicken garden rolls from Phong Nha Underground which were really delicious and treated myself to a snickers while Captain Caveman made me some iced oolong tea. I saw a jumping spider which I couldn’t move and Captain Caveman wouldn’t, so I did some walking up and down for exercises. From one end to the other our room was 7 metres and it was about 3.5 metres to the fridge so these would be my indoor walking paths. My outdoor walking route consisted of the ‘balcony run’ going to and from our spare room which measured 20 metres in total and so I was hopeful to be on the mend soon. Captain Caveman was very optimistic and headed straight out to meet friends for beers and lunch. After exercising I caught up on some Turkish but was finding it difficult to concentrate on, without any more medication, aside from paracetamol, my leg was giving me some gyp. The good news is though that the swelling was gone on the knee and much better on the ankle.
Later that evening Captain Caveman brought food from Namaste – even though it was Friday night we didn’t bother with a film and I was so tired that I was asleep early.

We had a surprise visitor in our bed on the morning of Saturday 23rd May, Geraldine (the baby gecko) had fallen from the ceiling and was a bit stuck in the covers. Captain Caveman rescued her and put her safe before heading out for breakfast. I had my usual Laughing Cow and rice crackers but no tea today. I checked in online, checked out the data to see Vietnam had 1 more recovery. The world was experiencing another lot of high cases with 109,000 in total, the 77,500 recoveries was looking promising but still 5,300 deaths in a day. Turkey had something strange going on with the numbers as there were less deaths showing than there were yesterday but cases were at 154,500. The UK had 254,000 cases (3,000 more) and 36,393 deaths (just less than 400) deaths in a day.
I ordered some strawberries from a local girl who also had rambutans and mango, which I added to the list. Captain Caveman popped back mid morning to bring the rambutans and mango, as well as some pickled onions from our friend, then went back out for lunch and some beers.
I had some cheese, pickled onions and fruit for lunch and did some more exercise, Turkish lessons and writing. The strawberries were delivered and Captain Caveman came back so he could put them in a bucket for me to wash and cut. I had a few and they were the best strawberries I’ve tasted in a long time!
The junk from my drawers were finally sorted and Captain Caveman had taken each crate and carefully placed it back in each drawer and took photos of them for me. We ordered food from Phong Nha Underground, Captain Caveman had spaghetti and meatballs which looked amazing, I had the pork dish again, which tasted good. We watched a film called Wheelman on Netflix which was a bit like a poor man’s version of Fast and Furious – it also went on a bit.

I had strawberries for breakfast on Sunday 24th May while Captain Caveman went out to The Villas to visit friends. It was cloudy but hot and around 29°C indoors so I did my usual Turkish learning with the fan on me. Captain Caveman came home with a friend who was visiting Phong Nha and we had a nice chat. He got to try the strawberries and we ordered the amazing BBQ chicken with sticky rice from East Hill. There were no zoom calls this Sunday so I kept up my exercises and did a walking video to send to my mom – I had a long way to go!
In the evening Captain Caveman went out to Momma D’s for drinks with friends while I stayed in (obviously) and ate the rest of the leftover curry from Friday night.