Sunday 10th January started with a buffet breakfast at the Vinpearl Hotel in Dong Hoi as part of my birthday treat from Captain Caveman. I even ate croissants, which were so delicious, as well as pho ga (chicken noodle soup) with bread things in and a bacon sandwich. I had juices, an ominous looking detox water and some tea, I overdid it on the gluten though and suffered when I had the last of the Danish pastries. We went to the indoor swimming pool and I did some walking and swimming without doing the breaststroke style legs. Captain Caveman took some videos but he didn’t last long in the pool because it was too cold. I also found it cold and had a bad stomach so instead of the planned hour, I managed 30 minutes (better than nothing).

Back in the room we packed and got ready to leave, Captain Caveman got a call from Deb to say that her and Colin were finished shopping in Dong Hoi and were just waiting for Watto to come out of the dentist, if we would like to meet up and then get a lift back in the Oxalis minibus. We checked out and headed off to meet them at Earth cafe, the lovely Vegan place. When we arrived Watto was there, as well as Thao and Mo (the owner) and everyone was having a coffee. I had a kumquat and daisy tea which came in a fancy cup and tasted great, when the complementary tofu vegan rolls came out I couldn’t help but try a couple and I really enjoyed them. The driver picked us up and we called at Tuan Viet Gourmet, the shop which sells the chocolate digestive biscuits, then a tool shop and finally we were on our way back to Phong Nha.

After a motorbike ride from the Glass House to Elements I couldn’t get warm, even after being in bed for a bit with clothes on, so we went up to the Farmstay early so that we could have a Jameson’s hot chocolate. Matty joined us, while Veronika had a rum in her tea, round the fire and started to thaw out a bit. Captain Caveman and Matty went off to the sauna but I stayed enjoying another whisky.
At least the Sunday roast dinner would warm me up and we had a very good meal with red wine – I even got the biggest piece of pork crackling on my dinner. At the end of the meal Bich and Ben came over to the table where Veronika, Matty, Captain Caveman and I were finishing off our cake, to wish us a happy birthday and give us a gift of wine – I was a bit emotional and was so grateful for their kindness. Matty went to his room and came back with a bottle of wine, to add to our birthday wine collection too. Veronika and I decided we would keep the wine at the Farmstay and drink it together once it had got to our actual birthdays – everything was all warm and lovely again!

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