Dong Hoi- the 2nd week of August

Dong Hoi- the 2nd week of August

The week started with news that the total number of cases of Corona reported in the world had exceeded 20 million, who would have thought that 8 months ago! On Monday 10th August there was 29 more cases in Vietnam and 1 more death. I had cheese for breakfast, chocolate for lunch (the healthy diet was going well) and then made my way downstairs to get picked up by Phuong for physio. My stomach was feeling a bit iffy and on the way I desperately needed the toilet. Phuong stopped at one place, a petrol station, but it had no toilets and was closed. I was a bit worried I wasn’t going to make it to Dong Hoi when we stopped at another small petrol station that also looked a bit unfinished or closed. To our surprise they had toilets, western style, that were fully functioning and clean. The only downside was I had to walk through a building site floor full of trip hazards and a kennel of at least 4 barking dogs to get there.
At physio Thuy was determined that I was going to have a straight leg by the end of the session and I thought I might cry from the pain – I didn’t! Phuong was able to pick me back up at 4.30pm and take me to the Nam Long Plus Hotel where I was early enough to order dinner from Tree Hugger, they are closed by the time I finish physio usually. I was hungry so ordered the beef and veg rice plate, a fruit salad, yoghurt and peach tea – all of which was delicious! The hotel still had problems with the WiFi and unfortunately if I wanted a bath (which I did) then room 201 was the only one available which was also suitable for my needs. I decided I could cope without the internet in the room and would use it in reception if I needed it. In my hotel room I managed to keep my leg straight enough to be able to stand up on 2 legs without crutches, a bit more progress! I started watching a great series on Netflix called What If (with Renée Zellweger) which was recommended by a lady in Dalyan, Turkey – I was getting in to it.

I had my usual pho bo breakfast at the Nam Long Plus Hotel on Tuesday 11th August and then checked the NCOVI app. There were 6 more cases, 4 deaths and 4 recoveries in the last day. It was definitely worrying to see deaths, even the low numbers compared to the UK (46,526) and Turkey (5,858). So far the deaths in Vietnam were still only in the Danang and Hoi An area and there had not been any recorded in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh.
I was feeling dehydrated so when I ordered my veggie spring rolls for lunch from Tree Hugger I ordered peach tea, pineapple juice and they brought me free herbal tea and an apple – they are excellent and really look after me!
My physio session was rather eventful and, after a good session of deep tissue manipulation/massage including the bum cheek and a smack of my arse from Thuy, I had to try some new exercises. She had me standing without crutches then sitting on a small plastic stool and standing again – this is difficult because I couldn’t do it without hands or help before the injury! At the end of the session instead of passing my crutches she asked me to hold her shoulder and walk without them. I managed about 5 steps and felt like I’d ran a marathon – it felt like I was finally getting to be able to walk!
Back at the hotel I had a lovely hot bath and ordered chicken and fried rice from 7th Heaven, another one of my favourite places where the food for delivery is as good as in the restaurant. Captain Caveman was back from Son Doong but I decided not to bother going back to Phong Nha as he had his next briefing that night and was going back in to the caves the next morning. I finished the night off with a drop of red wine and then slept very well.

While Captain Caveman, back in Phong Nha, headed off on his next trip I was eating a tasty pho bo for breakfast at the Nam Long Plus Hotel on Wednesday 12th August. There were 19 more virus cases recorded and another death, the first outside of Danang area and in Quang Tri (our next province). It seemed people were really feeling the tension and even where lockdown wasn’t imposed a lot of people were just staying at home and limiting interaction with others as much as possible.
I ordered a delicious chicken salad with peanuts from Tree Hugger for lunch and really enjoyed it. Physio was intense but we got fantastic results and I was so pleased to finally be able to walk a few steps unaided as well as go up and down my first set of stairs upright! Thuy had told me I would be able to walk by the end of the week and it was only Wednesday so I was thrilled. Also on Friday it will be 4 months since my accident so I had hoped to be mobile before then.
When I got back to the hotel I showed the receptionist, also called Thuy, that I could walk and she was also pleased for me. I headed up to the room to show off on Facebook but then realised I wanted Captain Caveman to see me do it in person before seeing it on social media, so I held off and didn’t tell anyone except a couple of people.
I messaged my Mom to ask what time Dad finished work so I could call them. I also got sent Thuy’s video of me walking so I would be able to show them after the call because the WiFi wasn’t working and I would have to call them without the camera on. It felt like ages to wait until 10pm but I had a bath, caught up on a few tasks and ordered pork ribs with sweet potato fries from 7th Heaven for dinner. I was on my second glass of red wine when I called the UK and my parents had assembled for what news I had. They were really pleased for me and I was finally relieved I was getting better. I went to sleep happy but exhausted.

For my breakfast on Thursday 13th August I had a Gastropulgite sachet for my stomach (which was still a bit out of sorts) and a banana which then meant I was able to tolerate gluten so I had cheese and ham toasties for lunch from Tree Hugger. I’ve not had a toastie for years and I didn’t realise the size of the portion so I had enough leftover for dinner – they tasted so good! At physio the therapist stood on my bum cheek and massaged my thigh with a foot which really helped with my sciatic nerve. There is a young boy, called Vu, going to physio who speaks English and is very polite and helpful, he’s now my door and floor monitor because he helps me by unlocking and opening the door when I arrive each day. He is also very good at moving the toys from the play area which I have to crutch through to get in to the heat room. Although I can walk a little without crutches I still needed to use them for balance and speed, as well as getting in and out of the entrances to buildings where there are steps without handrails. In the second part of my physio Thuy got me walking up the stairs again, just 10 of them, holding the wall on my left and the hand rail on my right. I went up ok and then coming down she told me to simply go back down in reverse rather than turning round and I was able to do it – 3 times in fact. When we finished Thuy gave me a gift of Banh Loc which is a Vietnamese snack made from cassava flour, prawns and pork – it was such a kind gesture and is one of her favourite foods. I’d just got back to the hotel when it rained and so the air cooled down a lot. I had a chilled evening, catching up with some language lessons, blogging and Netflix before bed. Despite the rain cooling the air a bit and the air con being on, I woke up at midnight feeling really hot!

Phong Nha to Khe Sanh to Hue – Easy Rider trip

Phong Nha to Khe Sanh to Hue – Easy Rider trip

Captain Caveman was back from his 4 day Tu Lan trip tomorrow and while he was away I have had one of the most exciting 3 days of my life (definitely in the top 10!)
On Sunday after Captain Caveman had left Ho Khanh’s Veronika and I waited for our easy rider motorbike drivers and 2 women, Sissy and Beth, to arrive. We were about to embark on a 3 day trip over one of the steepest and winding roads in Vietnam – the whole 246km of the Ho Chi Minh trail on the back of a motorbike. We rode from Phong Nha to Khe Sanh on the first day having to deal with a flat tyre before we’d gone 15km and then a loss of power getting up the hills and having to stop and wait for another bike to take Sissy. We had mist, baking hot sun and torrential rain as well as news that an english man had been killed that morning in a motorbike accident in Phong Nha. We left at 8.30am and arrived in Khe Sanh at 5pm filthy and knackered so we’re surprised that the cheap hotel we had was ok and had a nice warm shower. Veronika and I shared one room, Beth an Australian who’s son was a chef in Saigon, shared with Sissy, a financial analyst from Austria.
That evening the riders took us for chicken in sticky rice which was a speciality of Khe Sanh and was so tasty – football chicken is fantastic. Unfortunately we were too tired for karaoke and headed back to the hotel before 9pm after just 3 beers. I slept like a log and didn’t wake up ’til almost 7am…

… After breakfast of bread, jam and lychees we checked out and, wearing the same smelly and slightly damp clothes, we set off just up the road to the Khe Sanh combat base. Veronika did an excellent job of being our guide as she told us of the horrific fatalities in the area during the war. The small museum was interesting and it felt so sad that the war had even happened. The photos on display showed an unrecognisable place to where we were.
Back on the bikes and our next stop would be for lunch which we arrived at just before the torrential downpour came. Food was amazing and we waited for the rain to stop before heading off again to visit a waterfall where we could swim, not too far from Hue.
When we arrived 2 of the drivers said to follow them on foot down a path, across some rocks and in to ‘blood stream’. I asked why it was called that and Chung replied that we would find out later. I couldn’t be bothered to put my bikini on so went in, in my bra and knickers. It was really nice and the fish even chewed our feet. The water was cool and refreshing with a gushing waterfall into a small natural rock pool.
As we walked back we were reassured that blood stream was because when the heavy rains come it washes the orangey red sand down the waterfall making it resemble blood.We rode on, me regretting having a wet bra on as it got a bit nippy on the bike and it later meant wearing a bikini to dinner later.

We arrived in Hue at 5pm and checked in to a dump of a hotel but for £6 for the night it seemed acceptable to manage without soap or a light in the bathroom.
After beers in the Why Not? bar we got a taxi to a delightful restaurant, Les Jardins de La Carambole which is situated near the citadel. I particularly enjoyed the duck a l’orange for dinner and we shared 2 bottles of French fizz which was amazing.
We chatted with the owner after our meal and he bought us all a Bailey’s before we headed back to our basic accommodation where Veronika and I said our goodbyes to Sissy and Beth, who were heading to Hoi An the next day. We would spend a day in Hue, shopping, then get the bus back to Phong Nha.

Despite the ‘roughing it’ $10 digs I slept well and went over to the Why Not bar for a lemon juice at 9.30am. Hue was unusually quiet with hardly any traffic or tourists which was weird. Our bus back was booked for 4.30pm so we went shopping and I bought a dress and 2 pairs of trousers for $25.
We ate lunch at Bistro La Carambole, same owner as the restaurant the previous evening and in the centre of Hue. I had goats cheese salad and a glass of wine which was most enjoyable. Having had a taste for cheese we found a shop that sold cheese, crisps and sweets and bought a load to take back to Phong Nha. Considering we had a 38 degree heat to contend with plus a 5 hour bus journey and then a motorbike taxi before they would reach the fridge again we were a little concerned. We decided to walk in to a 4 star hotel and sleep on a sun lounger, with our shopping bags of cheese in the shade. No one questioned us being there and the hotel was nice – no one questions anything you do when you’re travelling with a pensioner.
Just as we were drifting off to sleep in the shade by the pool Veronica’s phone rang and important news came that she needed to leave the country tomorrow as her request to extend her visa hadn’t been agreed. She wasn’t happy, especially as she had her motorbike driving test on Friday but calmly we checked out flights and within half an hour she had a flight booked to Bangkok for Wednesday afternoon and we were on our way to the bus.
The bus driver was not happy for us to be anywhere near the front of the sleeper bus but Veronika did get a bottom bunk. We did worry that the cheese was starting to smell a bit so when the driver came towards us I thought it was for that reason. He wanted us to tell him where we were from and when we said Phong Nha he wouldn’t have any of it and got quite mad with us, he even tried to slap us with his clipboard!

Photo credit – everyone on the trip

Dong Hoi and Phong Nha – the 2nd weekend of August

Dong Hoi and Phong Nha – the 2nd weekend of August

On Friday 7th August I went downstairs for my usual breakfast at the Nam Long Plus Hotel and for lunch I had veggie spring rolls and tea from Tree Hugger. There were 33 more cases, 2 deaths and 11 recoveries recorded for the last day in Vietnam and so now the total cases of corona had reached 750. Captain Caveman was due back from Son Doong while I was at physio and so I had decided to go back to Phong Nha that afternoon. Physio was intense but more progress was made and after football came ‘standing on a massive ball’ which was harder than it looked. By the time I left the physio I was a sweaty, exhausted mess and had actually started to regret agreeing to go back home just for the one night. Phuong came to pick me up from physio at 5pm and Thuy told him I was making progress and should be able to get about a bit better which I was pleased about, I was so glad to get in his minibus with the AC on and comfy seats as I was so tired. He dropped me off at The Villas where Captain Caveman was waiting but was about to leave for his briefing. I didn’t fancy a margarita (which was strange) so I ordered a white russian, I had already decided what I wanted to eat but I waited until Tatas joined me. She had the potato and edamame salad (with tomatoes) and I had a specially made cheese plate without any bread/crackers. We shared a bottle of red wine of which I had the most because Tatas still had a margarita on the go. It was late when we got home, I went by taxi with Thang, Captain Caveman cycled home and I was absolutely knackered by the time I got in bed.

Captain Caveman was back in Son Doong on Saturday 8th August but it was nice to have slept in my own bed with comfy pillows and a duvet on. He went to get me breakfast before he left and so I had fruit to keep me going. Another 39 cases of corona were reported in Vietnam, 3 recoveries but no deaths. I had a catch up on what was going on in emails, messages and my blogging then had lunch of peanut M&Ms (I can’t believe I only found out they are gluten free this year). Phuong came to pick me up for my physio visit and this time I was going in to Dong Hoi, having my session and then coming back. It’s more expensive this way but means I don’t have to stay in Dong Hoi on a Sunday, when there’s nothing to do. There is the issue of the toilet (there always is with me) because it’s a 45 minute drive each way and 2.5 hours in the physio all without using the loo if possible.
The physio session went well and I ordered a takeaway curry from Namaste which Phuong picked up on our way through Phong Nha and he even carried it upstairs for me. I’d asked Raj to pop in a bottle of chilled white wine too but forgot it was cork not screw top and our fridge doesn’t fit a bottle in when it needs to be stood up. I did consider opening it and drinking it all but resisted and will have to have it when I can share it with Captain Caveman. The food was amazing and I felt so full after, even with more than half left over for tomorrow’s meals. A Saturday night with no booze and off to bed early to watch Netflix – what a party animal.

I had a rare day at home in Phong Nha and on my own on Sunday 9th August, which I was really looking forward to. I started the day by doing a quick calculation of how many hours of physio I had endured to still not be walking and it came to 73 hours over 7 weeks at a cost of just under 22 million Dong (£725), no wonder Captain Caveman remained unimpressed with my progress! The Corona data showed there was another 23 cases reported, no deaths or recoveries. I had cheese for breakfast but no rice crackers and crisps for lunch then a feast of leftover curry for dinner and still no booze!!! I did all my usual chores and time flew by and I managed to almost straighten my leg without holding it while laying on my back.
A fairly ordinary weekend without too much excitement but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Phong Nha and Dong Hoi – the 1st week of August

Phong Nha and Dong Hoi – the 1st week of August

On Monday 3rd August I had decided not to go to physio as I still had an unpredictable stomach and Captain Caveman wasn’t working until 6pm. There had been 3 more Corona related deaths in Vietnam and 31 cases in the last 24 hours so the other two thirds of the Triple Cripple Club had cancelled their physio sessions until further notice. Captain Caveman went out to get me bacon for breakfast but came back with a fruit salad and yoghurt, maybe he was watching my weight! Captain Caveman hired a motorbike for 24 hours and we went to Namaste for a lunchtime curry. They have a new chef and he is even better than the last one, who was pretty good already. The lamb samosas were so good that we ordered 4 more to take home and we both enjoyed our curries which seemed a bit more tasty. While we were there it rained rather heavily and so I stayed in there while Captain Caveman ran a few errands including stocking up at the Shop and Go and getting me some medication. We got requests to meet up from friends in Phong Nha so we decided to suggest 4pm Happy Hour at The Villas. I intended to leave when Captain Caveman went to work but decided to stay and have some drinks with everyone else. While the rest of the group left for work or curry at Namaste, Tatas and I had shared a bottle of wine after our margaritas and I was a bit tipsy. Captain Caveman came to pick me back up and, back home, I bum shuffled upstairs in a fairly fast fashion and we set the alarm for early the next day.

There were another 31 new cases of corona, no more deaths and just 1 recovery in Vietnam in the updates, as I had my breakfast of peanut M&Ms on Tuesday 4th August. I had been awake early as Captain Caveman got up and ate his 2 lamb samosas for his breakfast before saying bye as he headed off on tour for 4 days.
I managed to pack my bag without too much of a struggle and I was headed back to my second home in Dong Hoi, the Nam Long Plus hotel. I had my 2 lamb samosas for lunch and they were just as good cold, Phuong, of Phuong’s Transfers, picked me up and drove me to the hotel, helped with my bags and I had time to check in before physio. This time I had room 501 which has a desk, better views and much better internet, the downside is that the bath leaks a bit and so the bathroom floor gets wet and can be quite slippy. When I arrived for my 3pm physio appointment the door was closed as usual but the padlock was on and locked so I told the taxi driver to wait until I could get inside. There had been some changes; everyone inside was wearing a mask (some people had 2 on) including all the kids and one as young as 2, all the staff had on proper medical looking uniforms, the AC was strictly off and there was hand sanitizer on a chair near the door. My physio session was intense and I was told off for not going before because Thuy is very busy with a lot of customers needing her help. She also said my leg needed constant therapy and having time off doesn’t help, I could tell because everything she touched hurt.
That evening I decided to try a different restaurant for delivery of my dinner, Mr Bull. Tatas had recommended it so I ordered pork ribs and french fries and when it came it was a bit odd. The French fries came with a load of fresh french baguette type bread (which looked amazing but I didn’t eat) and an orange salt like substance sprinkled over the chips which tasted like sugar. The ribs were a bit disappointing as they were in a very strong vinegar like sauce so I think I’d order the beef next time, after all it’s called Mr Bull for a reason! I watched a bit of Netflix, tried to catch up on blogging and Turkish but was exhausted and fell asleep.

Wednesday 5th August was a gastronomic delight and I must have been hungry from the exertion at physio the day before. It was raining in Dong Hoi and the weather a little cooler. In Vietnam there had been 2 more Corona deaths, making the total 8, 20 new cases and just 4 recoveries. For breakfast I had pho bo (beef noodle soup), tea, orange juice and a yoghurt at the Nam Long Plus Hotel and it was getting a little samey but I enjoyed it nevertheless. I was also in quite a bit of pain with my leg but Thuy, the therapist, says this is normal and to get better I need to take the pain. I sometimes wonder if I’m just a wuss because I’ve never had to have any medical attention in my life and have been lucky enough to not have had any other pain except for dentist related. I’d been cautious about booking too many nights at once because of the unpredictable situation I didn’t know if I would have to go back home, or if the hotel or physio would have to close if there were virus cases in the area. The sister Nam Long Hotel decided to close due to no customers and so I was lucky to have somewhere to stay for the time being. For lunch I had a delicious meal from Tree Hugger and even they weren’t getting people in, the staff weren’t busy. I had veggie spring rolls and a salad with a herbal tea and a peach tea. At physio I was put through my paces and then we had a breakthrough; I stood on my bad leg, with Thuy holding it straight and holding on to her shoulder and I kicked a football – a few times!!! I was ecstatic and impressed I’d managed to kick a football with my good foot without any pain in my bad knee or ankle. Progress at last!
That evening, after my bath and catching up on the usual tasks I decided to treat myself. I ordered sweet and sour chicken with rice and sweet potato fries and a bottle of red – standing on my injured leg deserved a couple of glasses of wine!

If I thought the physio yesterday was hard work then I was in for a treat on Thursday 6th August. I was up early and the weather was a bit cloudy so I was happy about the temperature being cooler again. In the last 24 hours there had been 45 new cases of corona virus in Vietnam, which was a lot, and people were starting to get very worried. Everyone was sharing an app called Bluezone which is another tracing app which can tell you if you are within metres of a positive case (assuming that person knows and is on the app). All the Vietnamese people were going mad for it and were using it, I’d already deleted it last week because it drains battery, needs Bluetooth on and constantly tells me I have no one near me! Tree Hugger closed it’s doors to visitors but would still do a delivery service which I was grateful for. I made sure I ordered my lunch nice and early so that they wouldn’t forget me and then off to physio I went. I did more football and a fellow male patient was in goal and, despite his back injuries, was better than me at sports!
Back at the hotel I saw that a friend who was now back home in Saigon, was having some hassle because he had been to Danang in July. Authorities in Saigon had insisted all visitors to Danang from the 1st of July who had returned to the city must have a Corona test. I had pork fried rice from 7th Heaven for dinner with the rest of the red wine and counted myself lucky to be where I was. News in Thailand said that all foreigners on a tourist visa would only be allowed to stay there until 26th September, after which they must all return back to their own countries. Vietnam is different to Thailand but it did get me thinking, what if Vietnam decided all foreigners had to go ‘back home’?!

Phong Nha – a weekend at home (31st July)

Phong Nha – a weekend at home (31st July)

The Vietnam news first thing in the morning on Friday 31st July said there had been another 45 cases of Corona reported. This brought the total of community cases since patient 416 on 25th July to 93 – this was a lot in just 6 days, with the majority being in Danang and connected to the hospitals. Of course I was staying at home, minding my own business and worrying about not being able to go to physio and it setting me back on my progress (how selfish of me). I had finished all of my Gastropulgite and wasn’t able to go and replenish stocks so I had to avoid gluten again now but we didn’t have much choice in for breakfast. I had some of Captain Caveman’s sweets and didn’t notice until I was on my third one that they were full of dead ants – I ate them anyway, there was a second wave of a pandemic out there!
Finally the storm came and the room started to cool significantly, I was so happy and even took a video. News came that the first Corona related death had been reported, a 71 year old man from Hoi An who had underlying health problems. This was a massive knock for Vietnam as even the bloke from Motherwell had managed to live through it.
Captain Caveman came home and we had cheese and crackers for lunch with pickled onions and olives. In the evening we were lucky to be able to order the amazing chicken combo from East Hill. It had been ages since our last one and I had missed it. We also shared a bottle of red wine from the stash we had bought from the Farmstay and had a nice relaxing evening. By 8pm my stomach medicine was well and truly out of my system and I wasn’t feeling too lively. Captain Caveman shared his schedule with me and he still had 5 Son Doong tours in August and said he would do as many as he could fit in – we did need the money to pay for my taxis, hotels and physio! Before bed news of the second death came, a 60 year old man from Danang who was already sick with other conditions!

It made a refreshing change to have a couple of days off and we spent Saturday 1st August at home, eating nice food and drinking wine. For the Corona data Vietnam were on a total of 546 cases, 2 deaths and 373 recoveries – 68% recovery rate. In just 1 week the virus had spread significantly in Danang which was on lockdown and there was mass testing in that city. The UK totals were showing at the start of the month as 303,181 cases and 46,119 deaths.
We took advantage of The Villas doing a delivery service, it was wet out but certainly not the 10 day deluge we were told to expect. Captain Caveman had a pizza (obviously) and I had the potato, artichoke and edamame salad (without tomatoes) and spring rolls for lunch, we also ordered a tub of popcorn! We had a cheeky bottle of red wine and then anticipated what we might have for dinner. I’d missed eating duck of late so we both ordered the confit duck dish from The Villas and it was brilliant. We were contemplating opening another bottle of wine when the power went out and we used Captain Caveman’s inflatable emergency light so I could see to polish off the remains of the wine before going to bed. It was my first time crutching in the almost darkness and I managed it without incident.

When I woke up on Sunday 2nd August I read there had been another Corona death bringing the total in Vietnam to 3. There had been 32 more cases and no more recoveries which meant the recovery rate was only 63% and still no news on where the new wave of the virus had come from. We had a late breakfast of cheese, rice crackers and pickles before Captain Caveman amused himself on his phone and I did some blogging. The weather was much cooler and a bit rainy which was welcomed and I even had a shirt on because the room with AC at 26°C felt nippy. There was a wedding in the village however we decided it was better for us not to go just as a precaution, having been in Danang for a few hours 14 days ago.
For dinner we ordered East Hill chicken again and we had a bottle of cava with it. I’d thought it wasn’t going to taste too good as we had got it really cheap but it was fantastic and we made a note to try to find more – cheap, drinkable wine is hard to find in Vietnam.

Photo credit – cover photo by Captain Caveman

Dong Hoi – the last week of July

Dong Hoi – the last week of July

We woke up after a great sleep at the Vinpearl hotel in Dong Hoi on Monday 27th July. Our holiday within a holiday was over and Captain Caveman was getting picked up at 10am to go back to Phong Nha for work. We both went for breakfast first and enjoyed the lovely buffet breakfast, the hotel was very busy for a Monday morning and all staff as well as a lot of customers were wearing masks. There was alarm in Vietnam as more cases of corona in the community were reported and still no idea where the first person had caught it from. Even the BBC news was reporting about the cases in Vietnam, especially upsetting for the country because they had gone 99 days without a case. The government took the decision to lockdown the whole of Danang for 14 days in an effort to contain/stop the spread. I ate the rest of the Dingo Deli fudge for lunch and then had a bad stomach so had to skip physio. I chilled out, had a lovely bubble bath, watched Bloodline on Netflix then spoke to Captain Caveman. He had his briefing that evening and was off to Son Doong the following morning on his next 4 day tour. Because I’d only eaten fudge for lunch I had an early dinner of ginger chicken with steamed rice then had a couple of walnuts which we had brought from Hoi An.
I was still hungry so I had a cheese and meat platter with a generous glass of red wine, while wearing the obligatory hotel dressing gown. I had a great sleep in the comfy bed at Vinpearl who have the best pillows!!

On Tuesday 28th July things started to get a bit concerning, luckily I had eaten a big buffet breakfast to help me deal with everything. I was due to check out at noon, resume physio sessions and then check in to the Nam Long Plus for the rest of the week. I decided to ask if there was an opportunity for a late check out and there was (and for free). This gave me enough time to decide what to do as Danang had reported another 29 cases most of which related to the city’s hospitals. When I spoke to the receptionist they explained that people were leaving and cancelling in large numbers because people were worried a countrywide lockdown would be implemented and that we should be prepared for it. She also said that they would be able to book me in for longer if I needed to stay where I was and so I decided to extend for 2 more nights, mainly because I didn’t want to miss physio by going back to Phong Nha. Before physio I had some spring rolls for lunch and then got my usual ten minute taxi drive to my session, when I got there it was chaotic – Andrew was in the front area being pummelled and I was ushered to the back room (where the AC and a fan was on). The first thing I saw when I walked in was Mr Higgins (Caroline’s French bull dog) while Caroline was face down getting her back worked on. I was glad when physio finished and looked forward to a bubble bath back at the hotel. I’d also been given more of the stomach medication which coincidentally I believed was allowing me to eat small amounts of gluten without any consequences. I decided to put it to the full test, I was so hungry after 2.5 hours at physio that I ordered a pizza and chips, with a glass of red wine.
An emergency alert (no.17) was issued listing all the places that the infected people had been in the time before they knew they were positive for the virus. The first one on the list jumped out at me as it was the Intercontinental in Danang – luckily the dates were the 2 days before we went there for Sunday brunch so that had been a close one! We were lucky that the alerts were so detailed and easy to follow so that everyone who had been in the same places could come forward for testing, isolation or quarantine as needed. I updated my NCOVI app and updated a medical questionnaire on there so that I could be up to date if the CDC (Centres for Disease Control and prevention) wanted to know about me.
I watched more Netflix and chilled in the evening and was contemplating if I would be able to finish my physio sessions or if we would have to be in lockdown again soon.

The next day, Wednesday 29th July, was spent in the hotel not going anywhere and either doing language lessons, blogging, watching Netflix or crutching up and down the room. I really put the medication which was allowing me to eat gluten to the test a bit more by having more flour containing foods too. Because I had cancelled my physio I was feeling very stiff in my ankle and toes and so tried to keep them moving. The Triple Cripple Club were still at physio but I wasn’t able to go and had to cancel the rest of the week and decided to head back to Phong Nha the next day.

I had a good night’s sleep and woke up on Thursday 30th July ready to go back home. The Gastropulgite wonder powder had worked it’s magic and I had no symptoms of having eaten gluten!! My driver came to pick me up after I’d checked out and I had a rather heavy bag. It was not my usual driver and he didn’t seem to speak English so was not too helpful with offering to carry the bag, despite me being on crutches. It was a chore, to say the least, to get the bag upstairs to my room. Weather forecasts were constantly saying we should be in the middle of a storm and for days it had still been sunny and very hot. I took a long time to get up the stairs to the top floor and when I opened the door, our room was like an oven, I could have cried. It was so hot that the half can of tonic, left next to the bed, was too hot to hold and the coat hangers in the wardrobe were hot to the touch. I decided to have a shower but because our tank is in full sun on the roof the water was scalding hot. The AC could not cool the room and even after a few hours and a cold can of strongbow I was still too warm and struggled to sleep that night in the heat.

Hoi An to Dong Hoi – 26th July

Hoi An to Dong Hoi – 26th July

After all the frivolities of the day at Kahuna’s and night at Bia Oi I wasn’t feeling like going to breakfast on Sunday 26th July so Captain Caveman went by himself. When I did get up, though, I had some of the fudge and gluten free bread from Dingo Deli. The bread was already attracting ants and was pretty stale already so I ripped the hard edges off and tried to eat the softer parts. It was like sucking on a sandpit so I can conclude it doesn’t save at all and is best eaten warm, as soon as it is made! Check out was at noon and we had packed the bags so that Captain Caveman had a heavier one than me, in readiness for the train journey. His rib was no longer giving him any pain and he was back to normal already – he’s such a quick healer! At reception we booked a taxi for 1pm to take us from the Gold Pearl hotel in Hoi An to Danang train station and I sat in reception while Captain Caveman went to buy train snacks. He came back loaded with stuff and I had been reading the news that the authorities were disinfecting the Danang streets where patient 416 had been, there were also 2 more cases confirmed that morning. I asked if he thought we should maybe avoid the train ‘just in case’, he was also thinking the same when we got a call from his manager to discuss our plans for getting back. After a short discussion the taxi to the station was cancelled and we booked a private car driver to take us all the way back to Dong Hoi instead of getting the train. Veronika messaged to say she wouldn’t be meeting us at the Vinpearl as it was booked up, apparently Dong Hoi and Phong Nha had quite a few visitors who were either wanting to avoid going back to Danang or who had rescheduled their stay for longer instead of leaving for Danang.
Our driver was excellent, he didn’t text or answer his phone once (which is always a bonus), and when we reached a roadside check he dealt with it calmly and professionally. We didn’t realise it then but we were lucky to get back before things got worse and I was pleased we had decided not to take the train we had booked from Danang.Six hours later we arrived at the Vinpearl hotel in Dong Hoi, checked in and decided to have room service, crisps and wine! We watched a film on Netflix (2 Guns with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg) which Captain Caveman chose and then fell asleep before it had hardly started – well it had been a tiring day!!

Hoi An – 25th July

Hoi An – 25th July

On the morning of Saturday 25th July we had a fairly early breakfast at Gold Pearl hotel, I had fruit, rice and sweetcorn while Captain Caveman had an omelette. I went to my appointment at Citrus salon where I was booked in for some waxing and Captain Caveman was in charge of collecting my gluten free bread and booking train tickets back to Dong Hoi the next day.
At the salon I was met by Le who was very nice but concerned I would have to go up the stairs (I’d half expected it) so she asked if she should move all her equipment downstairs to accommodate me better. As an almost professional bum shuffler now it was no problem getting up to the next floor and in to the treatment room, where I noticed one wall was made out of a huge mirror.
Le did a very thorough job, professional and at a good price too – I will definitely return! On my way down the stairs I noticed a lady having her nails done and she was looking at me. When I got to the seating area to enjoy an iced tea and some yoghurt the woman recognised me from my blog and introduced herself. Her and her husband, Neil, used to live in Dong Hoi until recently when they moved to Hoi An. She was called Julie and she seemed nice so we agreed to maybe meet up, with our other halves, later on in the day. When I got back to the hotel Captain Caveman thought my salon visit amusing and couldn’t believe the only other customer in there was now my new friend! I didn’t say much as I was too busy shoving warm gluten free bread in to my mouth – it was so nice and I just pulled it off the loaf and ate it dry.

That afternoon we went to Kahuna’s which is on the beach and had an event with food and drink stalls and live bands on. When we arrived and I saw that it wasn’t great for crutching about, I was a bit worried but I persevered at the thought of food and drink. We met Des and Hanh, who already had seats and had saved us some space at their table. We bumped in to a few more people we knew and generally had a lovely day out. The pork ribs from Braai Pit’s stall were a winner and I definitely want to try their restaurant out. Captain Caveman was very attentive making sure I got what I needed and even escorted me through the crowds to the toilets when required – he even got me a cheeky mojito and brought a cute dog called Benji over for some cuddles.

Later on, Julie and Neil arrived and we had a wine or two before all moving on to Bia Oi, Seamouse’s workplace, at An Bang beach. I was already tipsy from red wines and proseccos when Julie got out her bottle of white wine in a ‘beer only’ bar and asked Seamouse to go get a corkscrew and a couple of glasses. Another friend joined us and we shared some food and more drink. I tried a bit of cows tongue and it was surprisingly tasty but the cabbage dish was unbelievably good and not something I would have gone for if our chef friend hadn’t recommended it. I love the edamame beans and peanuts but to be honest you can’t beat a good sausage on a stick when you’ve had a few too many wines. The music was great too, a duo from the Philippines called Motamba who played and sang very well and we generally had a really good time – so good that when I got back to the hotel I was a bit tiddly and had a small stumble going up the entrance steps. I didn’t hurt myself but I did drop a crutch and then it took me ages to get to the room.

Photo credit to all attendees.

Tam Hai to Hoi An – 24th July

Tam Hai to Hoi An – 24th July

We had a hearty last breakfast at Le Domaine de Tam Hai on Friday 24th July and even as we packed our bags we were still heading for a weekend in Danang (at this stage not knowing anything about what was going to happen with the pandemic). I should have got up to see the sunrise with Captain Caveman but instead he went alone as I slept longer.
Captain Caveman had a few pages of Tyson to finish off and I was doing a bit of blogging, both by the pool, when we saw the news. Vietnam had reported no Corona cases in 99 days and today a man in Danang had tested positive for the virus! He was a 57 year old local man who was now known as patient 416, he was awaiting another test to confirm but, with less than an hour until our departure, it was time to change plans.
Captain Caveman sprang in to action (on his phone while on the sun lounger), cancelled the Danang hotel and booked us another in Hoi An instead. He let C know we now needed the car to take us to Gold Pearl hotel in Hoi An and we looked like we had been lucky once again. At first it seemed we may have been slightly overreacting given that there was just one case in Danang but the issue was that they had no idea where he had caught it from and we could take no chances – Captain Caveman had to work and I still had to go to physio.
We said our goodbyes around 1.30pm and I made my way to the jetty to board the speedboat while Captain Caveman grabbed the bags and C came along for support. The tide was in this time and I was a bit more nervous as I had to go sideways along a plank with wooden slats across it – it was a You’ve Been Framed moment waiting to happen! It took ages, Captain Caveman and the driver were a bit impatient, C was calm and helpful but I got to the floating raft and went on my bum. It was quicker and I could hoist myself on to the boat easier. Once on, everyone said to stay where I was instead of trying to walk inside the boat so I got soaked and hit a few times, on my good leg, by the plastic float which kept being flipped inside. When we got to the other side Hung, our driver was waiting for us, but there was no car ferry to use this time. I had to crutch in to the water and walk up the beach, avoiding a couple of rocks and litter. It took ages but I was impressed at myself, Hung was less impressed when he saw how much sand I had on my shoes and feet. With only a tiny amount of water left in our bottle after Captain Caveman had washed his feet I had to put mine in the car dirty.

The drive was about 90 minutes and when we arrived at our Hoi An hotel it had more steps to the entrance than I would have liked and certainly wasn’t as wheelchair friendly as advertised. The room was nice although Captain Caveman had managed to book a twin room with a windowed bathroom (always a joy) but it had a lovely bath which I made use of straight away.

That evening we got a cab to Dingo Deli, given that walking street and the old town would not be suitable for crutching in, and I made an appointment at the salon a couple of doors down for a spot of waxing. At dinner we made a fabulous discovery in that they do gluten free bread (to order) and they have very good value red wine.
We had a feast and a most enjoyable evening, including a chat with the owner, takeaway fudge and a loaf on order for tomorrow! We had a rather busy day planned for the next day and quite frankly I wasn’t sure how I would fit it all in!

Photo credit – Captain Caveman

Le Domaine de Tam Hai Resort – the 4th week of July

Le Domaine de Tam Hai Resort – the 4th week of July

Being back at Le Domaine de Tam Hai Resort again was just amazing and on Tuesday 21st July I was pleased to see Captain Caveman following doctor’s orders. Of course I wasn’t doing what my physio had said but I wasn’t going very far and was walking like a granny to make sure I didn’t fall in the sand. It was fairly compact sand in most places and I stayed at the pool mostly. Captain Caveman gave the swing a good test out but I was forbidden from it as it might be too risky.
Our breakfast was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time and although the My Quang I had chosen was delicious I had food envy when I saw Captain Caveman’s choice!

Before lunch we had a dip in the pool and a loll about with our books on sun-loungers. We ordered lunch of fried rice and spring rolls to share, with passion fruit juice, and it was very filling and tasty. In the afternoon I went back to the room for a little nap and when I woke up I’d had a message from Captain Caveman to say Happy Hour had started early and he was still by the pool having a G & T with C. I got over to them and decided to try the margarita, made by V – she’d been trained well and they went down a bit too fast. C had decided we were going to have a BBQ evening and went off to make some dips. We carried on with Happy Hour until we were tipsy and then went over to the BBQ and dining area! I ate chicken because of my allergies and general fussiness, Captain Caveman had fish and scallops and because I love scallops, despite being allergic to them, I ate some. It was a very nice evening and after a busy day of relaxing I was looking forward to a comfy sleep in Villa 1. We went to bed that night very merry and slept extremely well.

We were both feeling a bit out of sorts on the morning of Wednesday 22nd July: Captain Caveman had a bad stomach and I was suffering from eating scallops because I couldn’t resist them. At breakfast Captain Caveman had chicken porridge which he ate slowly and I went for a version of the bacon breakfast he had the previous day. It did not disappoint and C made it herself and insisted I had some greens with it. We generally chilled out, Captain Caveman was either in the bathroom or reading about Mike Tyson by the pool. The other guests had gone out for the day so there was just us, the staff and C who kept us entertained and hydrated. We didn’t even have any lunch because I was too full from the massive breakfast and later on, I managed to stand up long enough in the outdoor shower to wash my hair, all the water at Le Domaine de Tam Hai is salt water so my King Charles spaniel look was back on the cards and I didn’t care. The quality shampoo and body wash were a delight which was fortunate as I had forgotten to bring mine.

By happy hour I was sipping a Pina Colada and then we shared a ginger chicken and rice for dinner, having given my wonder drug Gastropulgite to Captain Caveman. C’s partner, N, arrived back from Dalat that night, the two of them joined us for entertaining chatter with a carafe of sangria and some rather moreish potato wedges.

Captain Caveman was feeling quite a bit better but he had managed to pass it to me so it was my turn to take it easy on Thursday 23rd July. I had another My Quang for breakfast while Captain Caveman went safe with an omelette. Le Domaine de Tam Hai was fully booked for the weekend so we had to decide where we would go tomorrow but neither of us really wanted to leave, I’d still not had the lobster or prawn thermidor for dinner. I relaxed outside the villa for a few hours then I did a bit of walking in the pool (Captain Caveman filmed me) where I was convinced I was doing better, despite no one else seeing any progress.

I worked up a little appetite and a thirst so had some veggie spring rolls and some white wine. C brought us out some potato wedges with cheese, they were so good (more like a roast potato, with proper melted cheddar on) and we all shared. We lolled about until happy hour and dinner, C came over with a new cocktail to try which I didn’t think I would like (as it had campari in it) but it turned out I was a fan and we all had her version on an aperol spritz. I had meat kebabs with veg and rice and a hungry Captain Caveman ate a massive carbonara!
We didn’t have a boozy one and before bed we had already decided our last breakfast would be the bacon one!

Photo credit – Captain Caveman

From Hoi An to Tam Hai – 20th July

From Hoi An to Tam Hai – 20th July

I woke up at Beachside Boutique Resort Hotel in Hoi An with a bit of a hangover on Monday 20th July. Luckily they have the free water refills in a funky tin bottle which keeps the water nice and cold. It also has the branding on for the pub across the street which is where meals are served so we went across for breakfast. Again we had a bit of an issue with stairs because the staff said we had to go upstairs to the restaurant area but there were tables on the ground floor so I sat there and sent Captain Caveman upstairs to suss out breakfast options. While he was gone a pregnant waitress came over to tell me I needed to go upstairs but I pointed out I was on crutches and would rather sit at the table I was at (downstairs and right next to the kitchen). Captain Caveman came back and said we had to order from the menu which was very much gluten and egg heavy so I went for the My Quang with a tea. It was ok but it had a lot of scrambled egg and tomato in which I picked out – the rest of the dish was tasty.
Still feeling a bit fragile I went back to the room to try to cool down and get rid of my fuzzy head while Captain Caveman started his book and had a swim. The hotel was very busy and the pool was full and not particularly easy for me to navigate with my bad leg so I left Captain Caveman to it.
We checked out at noon and then sat in reception to wait for our car to Tam Ky at 1pm.

The driver, Hung, arrived early and off we went to our next mode of transport which would prove a bit of a test. When we got to the speedboat Bien was waiting for us with a surprised look on his face, at me crutching towards the boat. There was a car ferry next to him so he indicated for us to walk on to that and then climb over the side to get on to his speedboat. It took a while, with all the locals watching, I didn’t want Captain Caveman to hurt himself trying to pick me up but in the end he had to shove my bum up over the railing. Once on the boat I was fine and when we pulled up at Le Domaine de Tam Hai Resort C was there to greet us. Captain Caveman got off on to the beach but C told Bien to take me down towards the jetty at the other end as we were staying in Villa 1, next to the bar and reception area.
I got off ok but was a bit nervous crutching on the wooden jetty – this was going to be our second visit to Le Domaine de Tam Hai Resort but my first as a cripple. I found that the short walk to the seating area fairly straight forward and the gin and lemon juice drink went down a little too well. We’d not even checked in when we were ordering a bottle of wine! C introduced us to Fat Dave who was a bit shy at first but was friendly enough once he got used to us. She also is trained in reflexology so gave me a bit of a session where it alleviated some of my pains and stiffness. We ate a delicious meal looking out over the water; Captain Caveman was eager to snaffle away his fish and chips while I enjoyed my pork ribs with rice and veg. It was just so nice to be back on the island at this amazing resort, just relaxing and chatting to C and Fat Dave.

Danang and Hoi An – 19th July

Danang and Hoi An – 19th July

We were up and ready for our private car trip south on Sunday 19th July so we could celebrate Captain Caveman’s birthday once more.
The car was comfy and I think I may have had a snooze on the way down to our Sunday brunch at Citron restaurant at the Intercontinental in Danang. My leg was definitely getting better as on the way we had to stop for a toilet break (in a desolated petrol station with a barking dog in the gents) and I managed a pee in a squat toilet without spillage, touching the walls or injury!
As we neared the venue I managed to do a quick change (in the car) in to a dress so that I looked a bit more appropriate. When we arrived, after a 6 hour journey, the driver dropped us right outside the door to the restaurant entrance and so it was a shorter walk to our table. The staff remembered us from previous visits and seated us in the almost empty restaurant in a perfect spot, nearest to the entrance to the buffet. We got a glass of champagne each and some water and then Captain Caveman was in charge of both our food selections. We’d already formulated a plan and he knew what I liked so off he went, starting on the seafood section.

I had 9 prawns, he had sushi and oysters as we got top ups of the champagne and had a martini shaken for us. While I moved on to chicken skewers with potatoes, Captain Caveman had more fishy stuff and we had a cosmopolitan, more champagne and then moved on to beef skewers. We had a gin fizz and more champagne, then we ordered steak and Captain Caveman did well with his choices for the cheese board. We had more champagne before going on to red wine with our next dishes and I managed to squeeze in gammon, mushrooms and sweetcorn. I was so stuffed I could hardly move and I was definitely a little bit tiddly. The live band surprised Captain Caveman with a rendition of Happy Birthday and some dessert was presented to him while he looked embarrassed.

On the way to check in to Beachside Boutique Resort Hotel in Hoi An I had a snooze in the car. When we arrived I realised we hadn’t told the hotel when we booked it that I was on crutches and unfortunately we got a room on the 2nd floor and without a lift or a bath. Well, getting to the room sobered me up and I needed a lay down when I eventually made it.

That evening Captain Caveman was keen to try out the craft beers at Bia Oi, the new bar where Seamouse is now working as the manager. They didn’t have any alcohol without gluten so I just had water and then later on we had some of the tasty snacks from the menu; edamame beans, boiled peanuts, chicken liver skewers, belly pork skewers, sausage, & sweet potato fries. The food was incredible and the yakitori skewers were so tasty. Seamouse joined us and it was good to see him settled in to the new bar at An Bang beach. They even had good live music on and the massive table of Vietnamese blokes next to us were friendly and well behaved. I’d definitely go again and we said we might call in on the way back if we had time but next we were off to see our mate, C.

Edit – the Intercontinental has announced it will be closed between 27th July and 10th August following guidelines from the Health Ministry during the pandemic.

20 things I would do if I was in Dalyan

20 things I would do if I was in Dalyan

I left Dalyan in January to come to Vietnam for 3 months and, due to the pandemic, I am still here with no idea when I will be able to travel back to Turkey.
So, as I do love a list, I thought I’d remind myself (and you) of what the first things I will be doing when I get back to visit Dalyan (assuming it’s safe to do so). They are in no particular order:

1. Get in the pool so that I can exercise my injured leg after the lengthy flight(s).

2. Book some boat trips in.

3. Take a trip to Mimi’s for a pampering pedicure.

4. Get myself a good scrub in the hamam at BC Spa followed by a full body massage.

5. Spend a day at the mudbaths.

6. Have Emrah sort my unruly hair out with a cut, colour and curls at the hairdresser’s.

7. Order my gluten free bread and cake from Bakery No.10.

8. Volunteer at the Dog Shelter a couple of days a week.

9. Get my name down on the Riverbums volunteer list to help with clean ups each week.

10. Take a walk along the river and take in the views.

11. Drink a Turkish tea at the Tea Garden and admire the views of the tombs.

12. Go to Iztuzu beach and have a dip in the sea.

13. Return to all my old favourite bars, cafes and restaurants.

14. Find out what’s new and try out some places to eat and drink.

15. See all my Dalyan friends again after too many months away!

16. Have a trip to the local supermarkets to stock up on essentials.

17. Take the rowing boat over to the other side of the river and have a walk to Kaunos.

18. Relax in the comfort of the apartment, maybe with a nice bottle of Turkish wine.

19. Treat myself to a new item of clothing or maybe have some shoes made.

20. Visit the market for fresh fruit, veg and some Turkish delight.

26 things I googled in the 2nd half of July

26 things I googled in the 2nd half of July

For those of you who love a list here are all the things I googled, in alphabetical order:

1. Ankle ligament tear causing toe stiffness
2. Ankle strengthening exercises
3. Baolau
4. Beachside Boutique hotel, Hoi An
5. Benefits of a weighted blanket
6. Dani Dyer
7. Da Nang
8. Does cheddar go with Chardonnay?
9. English – Turkish translation
10. English – Vietnamese translation
11. Gastropulgite directions
12. Hyperactive
13. Intercontinental Danang
14. Jack Fincham
15. Koh Tao murders
16. Macklemore
17. Momma D’s rooftop lounge
18. Oyster sauce
19. Physio appointments in the UK
20. Reflexology chart
21. Snopes
22. Ugly Betty
23. Urine smells for diabetes
24. Vinpearl, Dong Hoi
25. Weather
26. World Life Expectancy



Phong Nha – 18th July

Phong Nha – 18th July

Captain Caveman’s birthday fell on Saturday 18th July and our plans to go to Hanoi were cancelled. My passport, with my newly extended 3 month visa stamp, was in Hanoi and so I couldn’t fly which meant our chosen transport would be the overnight train. There were issues with that; Captain Caveman wouldn’t be able to lift me on to the train which has quite high steps, I wasn’t sure I could get myself on to the train and neither of us could carry bags very well. We were disappointed as we were planning to meet up with friends we hadn’t seen for a while and to eat some Mexican food! We had to be sensible though, both being injured, so we decided to go for breakfast at The Villas and contemplate a plan B for Captain Caveman’s week off.
We had hired a motorbike but it only had one helmet with it so Captain Caveman loaned me his caving helmet which I looked a right bobby dazzler in! Captain Caveman had to also clear the neighbour’s kid’s marbles from the doorstep so that I could get out without going flying on them and then we were on our way. I had my usual pho ga which I really enjoy at The Villas as the quality of the chicken is great and I can have it without chillies. Captain Caveman had smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and toast for his birthday breakfast with a few espressos. While we were there we bumped in to one of the expats who asked if he could join us and we got chatting about our plans being cancelled and that we might decide to take a car somewhere closer. He gave us some good tips of places to eat where we had not been before that we could try. We had also hoped to go for a break in Tam Hai and we probably could still make it there. While we were chatting I had another jasmine tea which called for a second breakfast of flourless chocolate mousse cake – the best (and only) gluten free dessert option in Phong Nha. Back home, armed with more ideas, we contemplated our options and decided we would book a private car and head south.

Last year for his birthday Captain Caveman had held a BBQ at Phong Nha River House but this year it was going to be very low key, given we were both not 100% healthy and on medication. We managed to have a happy hour cocktail at The Villas on our way to Namaste for a birthday curry, which was excellent (as always). On the way home we stopped back off at The Villas so we could have a cheeky red wine with Tatas. Back home our friend and colleague of Captain Caveman’s came to see us with a gift of fruit – she hadn’t seen me for a while because of me being in Dong Hoi so much so it was nice to see her.
We had to set the alarm for 5am so that we could be ready for our trip away the next day – it was going to be exciting!

Photo credit Captain Caveman