Captain Caveman was due back from Son Doong on Friday 21st August and usually I would meet him at a restaurant in Phong Nha after my physio and before he goes to his gala dinner or next briefing. Corona data showed that there was another 13 cases, 9 recoveries and no deaths for the previous day. Vietnam had now reported over 1000 cases in total for 2020.
I didn’t bother with breakfast at the hotel but had an early lunch of spring rolls from Tree Hugger and a banana with herbal tea before physio. The hot treatment was very relaxing at physio today and I actually found it enjoyable this time – another good sign I was improving. I didn’t get to speak to Captain Caveman due to a combination of him turning off notifications on his phone and my accepting a new update on my phone which seemed to make my phone malfunction. While Captain Caveman went to The Villas to meet Caroline for Happy Hour and dinner, I stayed at the Nam Long Plus Hotel in Dong Hoi. I ordered a cheeseburger and fries from Tree Hugger (because I had taken some stomach medicine) and it was absolutely fantastic.

On Saturday 22nd August I woke up after not much sleep and got a phone call from Captain Caveman, who hadn’t got home until 12.45am! We arranged to meet at Phong Nha Farmstay later that evening, where we were going to stay at the pool villas. I had leftover fruit salad and peach tea for breakfast and then checked in on the NCOVI app as usual. There were 2 more cases and 3 recoveries but no deaths reported in Vietnam, worldwide we had just exceeded 23 million cases in total. I had decided to get a gift for Thuy and the team at physio as a thank you, luckily Tree Hugger do gift baskets which I didn’t know about until recently and could deliver it to my hotel room. I also ordered spring rolls for lunch but wasn’t that hungry so just had one and then took the rest with me for later. At physio the session was hard work, painful and exhausting and I couldn’t wait to get to the Farmstay and have a soak in the bath. Unfortunately on the drive back, with Phuong, to Phong Nha from Dong Hoi there was a massive storm and when I arrived Captain Caveman was in the bar area with some new friends. It was too rainy to walk to the pool villas so I attempted to join him, the floor was so slippy in the wet that my crutches didn’t stay where they should and I had to shout Captain Caveman to come walk with me across the wet tiles.
Once the rain stopped I insisted we went to the room so I could at least get out of my sweaty clothes and Captain Caveman had to help me on all the slippy bits. I never did get that bath and instead Captain Caveman opened the bottle of fizz he had chilling in the fridge and Veronika came over for a glass. Captain Caveman and I had dinner at our villa, him pizza and me beef in bamboo which were as good as always.

We had a lovely day at Phong Nha Farmstay on Sunday 23rd August, Corona cases for yesterday were another 5, with 18 recoveries and 1 more death (for the first time in 4 days) in Vietnam.
Captain Caveman was up early to join the 7am Farmstay walk then came back to the pool villas for breakfast at Little Lies. I had bacon and beans, tea and orange juice and Captain Caveman had sausages and egg. Before lunch time I’d done a bit of crutching about and then some swimming (well, walking in the pool so not to use my bad leg too much). We had decided to join a family who were also staying at the Farmstay for a trip out, with Ben and Veronika too. The jeep drive with Ben is always exciting and the food in the Bong Lai Valley, particularly Moi Moi is amazing. Ben had took the liberty of ordering for us all and the Dutch family let their kids watch the killing of the chicken for lunch (I have never watched the kill, just the plucking and other prep) and one of them instantly became vegetarian. No matter whether you order in advance or just turn up, there is always a wait at Moi Moi and it is genuinely great food. We had chicken, pork in bamboo, veggie cassava dumplings with peanuts, sticky rice and various dips. I didn’t realise it at the time but the last time I had visited was 366 days ago! Fresh honey was for sale and we got to try before you buy – it’s superb and great value for money.
We had just got back to the Farmstay before another storm came and we sheltered at the bar area (how convenient) with a bottle of red wine while waiting for an appointment I had. Dua, the security guy, even gave me a shelter from the rain and Sau, the waitress, brought me a towel!
A little later Veronika joined Captain Caveman and I at the bar and we ordered a Sunday dinner which was lovely and this time I didn’t manage to eat the whole plateful. While Captain Caveman finished off the red, I moved on to white with Veronika, who thoughtfully took my Sunday dinner leftovers to her room to save for me for tomorrow. By the time we walked back to the pool Villa the weather had fined up and the path wasn’t too slippy, we had a nightcap and went to bed.

Photo credit – Captain Caveman

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