Yusuf at Amy’s bar had booked us on his boat trip on Thursday 26th September and so I met my parents at Jazz bar at 10am. We already had our swimmers on and had took a bag with a towel each and some suncream. We were lucky as we only had 4 more people onboard and so with just 7 guests it looked to be a nice peaceful and relaxing day. We sailed out on to the sea while drinking a cup of strong tea and I forgot to take a sea-sickness tablet. We had the chance to try a spot of fishing, swim in beautiful bays and enjoy the odd beverage. Lunch was a buffet and BBQ which was really good – I took my own gluten free bread but didn’t have it because I was so full of chicken, meatballs, salad, broccoli, carrot yogurt dip, spinach yogurt dip and rice! After lunch we had more chilling, sunbathing on the top deck of the boat then swimming in Candır lake where there are thermal springs under the water. While we were there my friends were on another boat in the lake so I got off and we swam to meet each other for a chat (as you do). When I got back on the boat there was a glass of wine and a fruit plate waiting for me. The trip lasted until after 5pm and was a really good price at £30 each for the day out and all food and drink!
In the evening we had a lovely first meal at Meet Meat where we picked our own meat to be cooked then we had a glass of wine on the way home at Bistro Blue.
The week started with Captain Caveman getting up at 4.30am on Monday 14th September so that he could join a cycling trip in the National Park. Ben at Phong Nha Farmstay had arranged it along with 2 guests and him so asked if Captain Caveman wanted to join. Going early meant that it wasn’t too hot and by the time I got out of bed the 4 of them were probably back at The Villas having breakfast. I just had a banana for my breakfast so that I wouldn’t be ill for my afternoon physio appointment. I finished watching one of the most upsetting documentaries I’d seen in a while, Chasing Coral and I had no idea what was happening under the sea – it was devastating and I had a little cry. Thuy, from physio, was kind enough to move my physiotherapy session to 2pm and so Phuong was booked to pick me up at 1pm. For lunch I didn’t dare chance anything but salted crisps and water but it did mean I was starving hungry by the time I got dropped off to meet Captain Caveman. He had been working in the afternoon and so we decided to have a date night at The Lake House where he had also pre-ordered some freshly baked bread. I got there first as Phuong dropped me off and I ordered a coke as I was very thirsty after physio. I had a chat with Tam, the owner, and I managed to show off a bit by walking a few steps without the crutches but I was still using both of them for getting about. Captain Caveman arrived by motorbike after he’d finished work and we shared the chicken satay for a starter and a bottle of red wine. The menu at The Lake House is the same as at 7th Heaven in Dong Hoi and as I’d not had the food there for a while I was looking forward to the steak. It came with potato wedges, which normally I’m not a fan of but they were very nice. Captain Caveman had a chicken cordon bleu which I was too slow to get a photo of. Tam gave us both an ice-cream afterwards which was so good. Caroline popped in for a visit after a trip to East Hill with her friend and we had a drink together and an invite for more drinks at The Villas but we declined. It was a bit further a ride home on the back of the motorbike than I had remembered but I was ok and went straight to bed.
We decided to venture to the Farmstay for breakfast on Tuesday 15th September where I had a pho ga and 2 green teas while Captain Caveman snaffled down a cheese toastie and some espressos. We stayed there a while chatting to Ben and Bich before I ordered a second breakfast of fruit salad with yoghurt to take away, which I had for lunch. I booked Phuong to take me to physio and then drop me at The Villas for Happy Hour and a Half later on. After my usual 3pm physio session I got to The Villas before anyone else and sat at a table outside. Caroline and her friend were due to meet us and arrived shortly after Captain Caveman. I ordered peanuts, popcorn and margaritas and we all chatted. I decided to have veggie spring rolls and the potato gratin with asparagus as my dinner because I felt I needed the carbs to be able to stomach a drinking session while Captain Caveman nipped off to watch the Son Doong Cup 2020 football match. When he came back to get me I had drank 3 margaritas and was tipsy and I slept very well that night.
We were meant to get up earlier on Wednesday 16th September so that we could eat breakfast before our trip to Dong Hoi – I forgot to set an alarm and I was very tired. The sunshine bus set off at 8.30am and after a 45 minute drive we were at the supermarket in Dong Hoi where I managed to walk around with just one crutch fairly quickly, considering. We bought apples, grapes and some wine – Captain Caveman was in charge of the basket and I obviously couldn’t keep up with him. We didn’t stay long and we got back in the bus after half an hour. The next stop was an organic grocers, a small shop full of fruit and veg, quality of the produce was great and we picked up a few things. After only 25 minutes we were back on the bus and off to the Vincom centre where Captain Caveman did all of the shopping in Vinmart supermarket while I had a browse. I found it difficult to get on and off the escalator because they seemed to go so fast for me but I was ok and didn’t fall. The last stop was at QB Casa, where I sat and had a coconut which I really enjoyed while Captain Caveman looked confused at his double espresso which arrived in two separate cups. We got back in the fun bus just after 11am and was home by noon – a successful shopping trip and such a full fridge! Captain Caveman would be looking forward to knocking up a few gourmet meals while I was happy to have a decent fruit salad when I was home. I had rice cracker and grapes for lunch – I do love a rice cracker! later on Captain Caveman made us White Russians and for dinner I made us a halloumi salad which was very tasty and healthy. Before bed I had time to call my parents who were doing well, it was good to speak to them.
On Thursday 17th September Captain Caveman went to watch a morning football match, I had some lovely seedless grapes for breakfast and drank plenty of water while checking in on the NCOVI app. The world had reached 30 million reported cases now with no signs of slowing down. I tried to get an earlier physio appointment but failed so had a very safe lunch of corn tortillas with peanut butter and water. The tortillas had been in the freezer at the Glass House since our last trip to Hanoi where we bought a packet from Salt ‘n’ Lime because they were gluten free. I warmed them in a dry frying pan and they were the nicest (gluten free) bread product I had tasted in a while – I had 3! In the news there were warnings of a tropical storm coming, which I got confused was a typhoon. It was called Noul and we were told the winds would be very strong, it would rain and there was a possibility of loss of power. When I arrived at physio for my 3pm appointment it was 2.30pm so they fitted me in then, meaning I could leave at 4.30pm and hopefully miss the bad weather. That afternoon Bich called to invite us all to the Farmstay for a dinner, she was cooking a Mi Quang. It was already raining when we got to The Farmstay, I managed to seat myself on a high chair (another first since my injury) and we ordered a bottle of our favourite red wine (R7). The Mi Quang was absolutely delicious and we both really enjoyed it and of course it was gluten free. Before the weather got too bad we went home with some wine left. The eye of the storm was due to hit us while we were sleeping, possibly around 3am.
Photo credit – Captain Caveman Video credit – Ben at Phong Nha Farmstay