On Friday 29th January there was some excitement in Phong Nha as Smiley, a former waitress at Namaste Indian restaurant, had been given a job at The Villas restaurant and she was being put through the paces of coffee training with Manu at 10.30am. A few of us were invited to try free coffee in exchange for a bit of feedback, not drinking coffee didn’t stop me attending though – it was a good excuse to go over for a hot chocolate and a catch up with the gang! There was Bich, Ben, Howie, Veronika, Captain Caveman, Matty, Tatas and me.

Captain Caveman and I decided to stay and have brunch after, with Tatas. She ordered the big breakfast which was huge, I had a smoked duck salad and Captain Caveman ordered a pizza because, although it was pizza night later, he wouldn’t be able to come as he was working. In the afternoon Captain Caveman popped off to Oxalis to get prepared for his Son Doong briefing later while Tatas and I sat by the fire chatting with Veronika, who was staying at Victory Road Villas in the Penthouse – she even gave us a guided tour and I was impressed because it was extremely luxurious and had an oven.

I had a an oolong tea and then it got to happy hour and a half so I started with a margarita, Tatas had a sangria and Veronika had a bottle of wine she had started the previous night. We ate popcorn and I probably shouldn’t have because this hindered my pizza consumption later on – I only managed 6 slices! It was Smiley’s first shift on the pizza night and she did very well, we even got some photos of all of us together. Captain Caveman popped back later and sent Raj (previous manager of Namaste) a photo of us all, fans of Raj will be pleased to know he is now back in Vietnam but in Tam Coc, further north, with his new restaurant The Curry King. Momma D stopped by with Kevin, the dog, and we all got to pet the little cutie!

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