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’?!

One thought on “Phong Nha and Dong Hoi – the 1st week of August

  1. Thanks for this, I enjoy reading your blog! I do miss Dong Hoi and Phong Nha so much, well VN in general, your blog keeps me up to date on what is going on back in my second home really enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

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