Friday 30th October was one of those days where we did practically nothing. It was raining all day, Corona cases globally had exceeded 45 million and we didn’t even eat a proper meal. When Captain Caveman had been in Uniqlo in Hanoi he had found bras that he thought might fit me but I was reluctant for him to buy them as I thought they wouldn’t, but now the bras I have are really needing replacing. I found that although I had only reduced 1 cup size my bust measurement was down 4 inches!!! The next time we went to Hanoi I might be able to get some bras to fit me – this was highly exciting news.
Unfortunately in Turkey there was bad news of a big earthquake in Izmir which had resulted in buildings collapsing and people being trapped and some killed or injured. Dalyan is 300km south of İzmir so there was no damage there but they did feel the tremors.
My gluten intolerance issue was a mystery because I seemed to be able to eat bread and not be affected which was weird – I’d not eaten bread for about 2 years and now I had started to eat it more often. For breakfast I had 2 slices of buttered toast which was great and didn’t make me sick. Captain Caveman had started watching house renovation TV shows on Netflix and so I had lost my chef to the TV. For lunch we shared some M&Ms and I carried on doing Duolingo languages and blogging. In the afternoon I made popcorn, this time with butter and salt and we ate a whole tub between us while watching some terrible house programme with a very annoying Caroline Quentin as one of the presenters.
I got some news from my mom that PayPal were going to start charging if you had not used your account in the last 12 months, from December. I looked into it and they would charge whichever was the less of £12 or your balance if it had been inactive for a year. The problem was that neither me nor Captain Caveman could log in to PayPal as our phone numbers had changed and it wanted to send a code to our registered numbers from way back.
For dinner we simply had 2 white russians each, my cold had almost gone and I just felt a bit tired so had an early night. Ruth, the gecko, had decided she liked to hide in the bathroom door and so we didn’t close the door at all for risk of her getting squashed. Tomorrow we had a very busy day planned and there was also another typhoon on the way to the Philippines which was likely to affect us a week later!

On Saturday 31st October Captain Caveman made us some beans on toast for breakfast, always a favourite of mine, but it did mean we were now out of baked beans and they aren’t too easy to get here. We didn’t bother with any lunch but I wish I had later. At 2pm we were picked up by Phuong (of Phuong’s Transfers) and Remy, our neighbour, came to Dong Hoi with us. Our first stop was Co-op Mart where, because I didn’t have access to the list (on Captain Caveman’s phone), I got the job of pushing the trolley up and down the aisles instead of going on the massage chair. Captain Caveman bought groceries including snacks, fruit, veg, ketchup and spaghetti. I spotted what I thought was Carnation evaporated milk and insisted we buy that at a bargain 19,000 vnd. At the next stop, Tuan Viet Gourmet, I pushed the trolley again and we still couldn’t get everything on our list. We got red wine, crisps, dark chocolate, gluten free chocolate cookies, pasta sauce (in a jar), orange juice, (expensive but impressive) walnuts and some meat. We don’t normally buy much meat to cook except for bacon and salami but this week we got pork and beef to make casseroles in the rice steamer! Next we went to the Vinmart and I was getting a bit tired but we still managed a decent shop on exciting treats like salami, Strongbow cider, and salted lemon to go in my gin!
Back at the van I thought we might be calling it a day and Remy looked like he had done too but he still needed a couple of things. Alas, Captain Caveman pointed out we still needed multiple items off the list so our next stop was the organic shop where I completely lost track of the purchasing and stayed in the van chatting to Phuong about how hungry we both were. Captain Caveman definitely got asparagus at this shop and I think some chicken from the freshly stocked freezer section before heading to another small shop to buy beer. When we got to the last supermarket I didn’t bother going in and left Captain Caveman to pick up dates and grapes from the list, unfortunately they were out of stock and we had to leave without any!
Earlier that day I had arranged to drop off my passport with an agent so that I could, once again, have my visa extended. For those of you who have more to think about than the Vietnamese visa rules, it has changed that immigration will now only extend visas in UK passports by 1 month (it was previously 3 months) and so now this is a bit of a costly inconvenience. Not only does the agent end up having my passport in their possession for between 14 and 19 days, the cost is an astonishing $120. This is only for people, like me, who arrived before 1st March. Anyone  after 1st March gets free visa waivers as they are deemed to be stuck here because of Corona. I did have the opportunity still to leave before 1st March but I chose to stay in Vietnam and therefore I am at the mercy of whatever the price is – last month it was $85. There is also no guarantee of how many times I will be able to extend it so if the boarders open, even to a country I don’t want to go to, it may be possible that I will have to get out (Thailand did something similar in September). So here we were in Phuong’s minibus heading towards Kimmie’s (the agent) house after 5pm on a Saturday to give her my passport. Captain Caveman gave my passport to her and that was it until I pick it up on the 19th November. On the way back to Phong Nha we made one last stop at the Lake House where Captain Caveman had ordered 5 loaves of bread, 3 for us and 2 for Veronika!!

When we got back Veronika was already on the bubbly and so we joined her for a drink, then we all had fresh bread and butter for dinner – we know how to live it up on a Saturday night!
I noticed that it was Halloween and quite a lot of my UK Facebook friends seemed to be really into it, including my sister who had decorated her house and the family had dressed up for a party at home. Here in Vietnam it’s not a thing and I don’t remember it being as popular as it is now when I was living in England. The best I could do was a couple of photos with Snapchat filters to ‘join in’!! I also saw a friend’s post on Facebook, a memory from 5 years ago; I’d said ‘yes’ to a request to go to see Iron Maiden in Berlin and that was the start of the Berlin 10 and what would be a great trip with some great new, and old, friends. It made me both happy and sad – I hoped I would be lucky enough to be able to join more trips with the Berlin 10 in the not too distant future.

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