Captain Caveman was off on a one day kayaking trip in the jungle with work on Friday 13th November. He left before I even got out of bed and we arranged to meet at The Villas at 6pm. I had sourdough with butter for breakfast and then decided not to eat anything else until I was at The Villas later because it was the infamous Pizza Night. I posted a request on a couple of Facebook groups to say I was on the look out for a Honda Cub 50cc and to let me know if any were for sale – until I was able to ride it, Captain Caveman would use it. Phuong picked me up for my usual trip to Dong Hoi for more physio. My session went well and I had 2 therapists working on my leg at once. Afterwards I got dropped off at Victory Road Villas in readiness for the 6pm start of the all you can eat pizza night. Captain Caveman and his colleagues arrived and were pleased to have spotted monkeys on their trip. Everyone sat at the big table outside, the weather was still warm, and Manu and the staff kept the pizzas coming, I also had a couple of margaritas which were excellent. It was a good night and we were very full. Captain Caveman and I went back on his motorbike and it was a bit colder than usual, before bed we had a whisky nightcap.
Typhoon Vamco was on its way to central Vietnam and on Saturday 14th November we wouldn’t have known it – it was definitely the calm before the storm. The weather seemed absolutely fine, the new car port metal structure was finished and the staff were working on tidying up the place. The storm was now a level 14 out of 17 and was due to directly hit Danang at 4pm. Curfews were in place in that area, flights were cancelled, beaches closed. I made the mistake of eating both egg and yoghurt for breakfast, both of which were making me have a dodgy stomach, so I didn’t know which was the offensive food. I had tortilla and then yoghurt with frozen berries which took a while to defrost. For lunch I had more tortilla and some bread but was fine so I deduced yoghurt was the culprit. In the afternoon we went for a walk round the block and I wrapped up warm, even wearing socks with my porter sandals, like the cavers do. I managed to complete the same 500m walk in only 15 minutes this time and so was 7 minutes quicker than my first attempt at it. On the way we noticed that Duyet and Co were propping up trees and tying them down in readiness for any destruction. When we got back we shared some peanut M&Ms and Veronika had returned from a very stormy Hue – she couldn’t believe how calm it was here, compared. It was pork stew for dinner, after sharing a bottle of fizz.
We woke up to it raining on Sunday 15th November but there were no signs of the typhoon here in Phong Nha yet. Further south in Hue, Hoi An and Danang they were already suffering the beating of the winds and heavy rains and a few people we knew had been evacuated to hotels. During the morning the rain got a little heavier and the paddy field opposite Elements Collection was definitely starting to fill up. I had tea and toast for breakfast and then planned to have a cosy day indoors with a book to read, but I never got round to that. For lunch Captain Caveman warmed us up some left over stew which we had with cheese on toast – mine was Red Leicester which is one of my favourite cheeses to have on toast. By 1.30pm the storm was here and it was quite powerful. The precarious tree out the back was ready to fall and I kept watching it, I went away leaving Captain Caveman to get a video of it if it fell and when I came back he hadn’t even noticed it fall onto our phone wire – he was on his phone and missed it. I took various videos of what was now a heavy storm and it really did go deadly still when the eye of it was over us, which was very strange. One of the baby geckos was on the balcony looking relieved to be alive and we tried to encourage it in, I named him Nâu (meaning Brown).
We had fried rice for dinner and by 7pm the storm had passed and we were back to normal.