On Friday 18th December I had a breakfast of dragon fruit and an apple. For lunch Captain Caveman made us salami and asparagus (he had egg) with parmesan and I had 2 pots of jasmine tea. In the afternoon, after a bit of work for me and some House of Cards on Netflix for Captain Caveman, we went to the Farmstay for a drink. It was pizza night at The Villas so transport was layed on to take us all there for 6pm. Veronika was due back from a few days away and went straight to The Villas, there was quite a crowd of us. Captain Caveman and I sat with Matty and shared a couple of bottles of wine. Momma D was there with the cavers, having ordered takeaway pizza and a salad as we arrived, she was excited to be having Watto and Martin (UK cave experts) back and she was preparing a special dinner for them at her rooftop bar after they had finished their quarantine in Hanoi. We welcomed a lovely new Farmstay guest, Annette, to our table, with Veronika, as Ben asked us all to try his buffalo pizza – a great new addition to the pizza menu. It was a great night and I thoroughly enjoyed our company as well as so much pizza. Back home I was excited to hear that my cushions were ready to collect in Dong Hoi!
After the over indulgence of the previous night’s ‘all you can eat pizza’ I was looking forward to a healthier day on Saturday 19th December. When I woke up it was cold and it didn’t get much warmer which was a bit disappointing as I had to wear shorts for my physio visit because I had ran out of clean trousers that can be rolled to the top of my thigh when I’m at therapy. I had arranged to go to collect my cushions from Earth cafe and so I’d booked Phuong’s Transfers for a longer than usual day. Captain Caveman and Matty decided to come along too as we needed some provisions and it was only an extra £4 for us to go 2 hours earlier. Captain Caveman made me bacon and mushrooms for breakfast (we still can’t buy baked beans here again) and then we left for Dong Hoi at 11am. We got a warm welcome from Mo at Earth cafe and Thao was also there by coincidence so we all ate together. This time I ordered the mushroom and udon noodle soup, Matty and Thao had mushroom porridge and Captain Caveman had pumpkin soup. I tried a bit of everyone else’s and it was all good but mine was definitely the best dish!! I drank daisy tea which was really nice and a first time I had tried it. Word came that the cave experts had passed their Corona tests and were out of the Hanoi hotel with a flight booked that night to come to Dong Hoi and then home to Phong Nha.
While Captain Caveman and Matty went off shopping in Dong Hoi and guzzling white russians at Tree Hugger I got my pummelling at physio, I got laughed at for wearing shorts and I was so cold that the therapist had to give me an extra pillow to cover my good leg. When we got back home I had a hot shower and just couldn’t get warm again, even with the heating on, the room still only got to 21°C and I had to get in bed early. I managed my dinner of chicken, veg, sticky rice and peanuts and we watched more of The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix.
On Sunday 20th December Captain Caveman went to Phong Nha to see the returned cavers and have a coffee. It was still very cold and I sat on the living room sofa trying to keep warm. Captain Caveman got back just in time to make us bacon sandwiches for breakfast. I had a cheese sandwich for lunch and wasn’t ill, for a change. In the evening Captain Caveman popped over to see his colleagues at Momma D’s, before their welcome back special dinner, then he and I met up at the Farmstay, he had picked up Tatas on the way.
At the Farmstay the food was as great as always and I enjoyed my pork and lamb Sunday roast dinner very much. Howie kept asking Tatas to play cards with him so a few of them joined a game, I learned Tatas was a very skilled and aggressive card player with ace croupier skills. A game with the kids started where if they lost they would get an ear flick and it got quite roudy – in addition Michael’s ears were so red by the end of it. We said our goodbyes and went to get in the rascal with Duyet to go back to our place for more wine so it turned in to quite a late night, with Tatas on the sofa and me having eaten far too much (again) – wishing I had taken my included carrot cake home, instead of stuffing my face!