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

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