Knowing that I’m going to snaffle as much pizza down me as I can every Friday night has made me conscious that I need to get more active. Friday 5th March was one of those days, there was no tannoy noise but I was up and doing my writing by 5.30am so that I had enough time to fit everything in I needed to do.
I decided to cycle to the Farmstay for breakfast and chose the long way, taking just 18 minutes 15 seconds to get there, which I was pleased about. I had a soda water, a big bottle of water and a pho bo. There were a couple of new guests arrived, who were friends’ of Matty and I met one of them, Hamish. I chatted to Bich and Ben who were getting ready for a busy group booking at Phong Nha Farmstay and I said bye to Matty who was off to Saigon for the weekend. It started to look like it might rain, thunderstorms were predicted, so I cycled back home the long way again. I managed it in 18 minutes 49 seconds and was delighted with that, although the Elements Collection staff thought I might be dying because of my purple face and sweatiness. It is definitely harder on the way back. I had lunch of masaman curry with leftover rice and was looking forward to pizza night!

I love The Villas’ all you can eat pizza night and so on that evening I had agreed with Matty to look after his friends, Hamish and Mik. When I arrived Colin and Mark were sat together outside but there was a lot of mosquitoes so I went inside. Tatas came to join followed shortly after by Hamish and Mik then we rearranged the indoor table to fit Colin and Mark too. Tatas and I shared a bottle of wine, the new blokes in town were on the G&Ts and before we had each eaten more than 1 slice of pizza I knew it was about to get messy! Hamish is a fan of tequila and so he insisted on us having a shot. Luckily for Tatas after eating her spaghetti and having 3 tequilas and almost half the bottle of wine she got summoned to go deal with something work related and left early. Hamish and Mik turned out to be really good company, very funny and we got on well straight away. I don’t know what it is but when I meet English and Irish people when I’m so far from home it’s refreshing to have that banter that I miss and for us to be able to understand each other so easily when we are speaking. The pizza was great but a surprise anchovy and chilli one caught Hamish off guard and more tequilas had to be consumed. Mik, from Ireland, who also has a wicked sense of humour struggled to keep his last shot down so, alas our taxi was summoned and we all went home followed by the adding of each other on Facebook.

Saturday 6th March began with only a slight hangover, considering how much we all drank and there had been some loud storms in the night. It was Captain Caveman’s final day of his trip and the second day that the tannoy had not been active – hopefully it was broken! I checked my purse to see how much of my budget I’d blown and was pleasantly surprised, thus establishing that Tatas paid for the wine and Hamish had paid for most of the Tequilas, meaning I had easily spent less than £10 on my night out.
I cycled to the Farmstay for my pho bo and soda water breakfast and took the long route which took me 20 minutes and 5 seconds but it was a strong wind. I had not arranged to meet Hamish but when I arrived he was in reception with his luggage. It turned out he was changing rooms as he was off on a trip to Hang En the next day so we had breakfast together. Mik joined us and we decided to take the piss out of him as he is a fussier eater than me, apparently. I left, taking the long route again in 19 minutes 58 seconds – the second day in a row of doing 9km.
I chose some swimwear and a pair of shorts from Mommy Shark in Hoi An, arranged delivery and asked Captain Caveman to pay for them later that afternoon. I had just toast for lunch then some popcorn in the afternoon while I watched more of Amazing Hotels. Veronika had come back from Dong Hoi but was at the Farmstay so I still had the place to myself. I took off my bra, got comfy and settled on the sofa for a quiet night on my own, or so I thought!

As I was watching another episode of Amazing Hotels and having a pre-dinner glass of wine on Saturday 6th March, I heard the door open. I knew it wasn’t Captain Caveman as he had gone straight to his gala dinner at Chay Lap after his tour and was staying at the Glass House tonight. Footsteps came up the stairs and I could smell a faint fishy smell as Duyet’s smiley face appeared. He couldn’t really explain in English and I didn’t understand what he meant but he had brought me a plate of squid and prawns because they were having a party outside with the owners of the place, Hien, Khanh and their guests. Next, I heard Hien shout hello and she came in with a bottle of (sweet) red wine which she had already started. Because Women’s Day was coming up they were celebrating and so she insisted we have a drink together but, as is usual in Vietnam, she was chugging the wine with every cheers. She taught me how to say Happy Women’s Day in Vietnamese (chúc mừng ngày phụ nữ) and she asked if we were still enjoying living here. Next at the door was Hien’s daughter, Han, and more wine was drank, followed by Duyet returning with pizza. We were sozzled and when I asked what date Men’s Day is they thought I was quite the joker – apparently it is every day! By the time they left, the karaoke was booming outside, the party was in full swing and I could barely hear the TV so gave up. It was actually a good night and at least I got to have a small celebration with Hien and Han.
On the budget front I had managed to spend less than £18 on food and drink these last 4 days as well as about £28 for 3 items from Mommy Shark, let’s hope they would fit!!

Without speaking to Captain Caveman I had arranged for us to have lunch with Uy and Chung in Phong Nha on Sunday 7th March. The weather wasn’t great though and in the end it got cancelled as both Uy and Captain Caveman had to get prepared for a tour tomorrow. Chung had bought me a gift of Banh Ep from Hue, which is rice cracker with pork and spring onion and is such a delicious snack – she remembered how much I love it. I didn’t have any breakfast as I was waiting for Captain Caveman to come home so we could go for a cycle to the Farmstay. We went the long way and managed it in under 20 minutes and then we ordered a big lunch each, despite it being Sunday roast tonight. I had a pork clay pot with steamed rice and vegetables, Captain Caveman had a salami pizza and I had a couple of orange juices. While we were sat there my delivery of swimwear arrived and I was astonished that it had took less than a day to travel 350km. I was excited to see if they fit so we cycled back home in 20 minutes and 2 seconds so I could shower and try on.
OMG they fit! I can not describe how excited I was especially as my current swimming costume is over 5 years old and falling a part and my bikini is about 10 years old and a bit too big for me now! Even Captain Caveman was impressed with my 3 purchases for less than £30 including delivery. I now had 4 pair of shorts in total, including a pair of cycling shorts I’d found mixed in with the washing.
Captain Caveman went off to his next Son Doong briefing and I caught up on a few chores before going out.
I joined Veronika and Ben for the Sunday dinner with the kids having Vietnamese food. Later Captain Caveman came for a beer and paid for another month’s rent, as well as the laundry and the food and drink for today. He also gave me some money for while he would be away again. 

Photo credit – Ben & Bich, Phong Nha Farmstay, The Villas, Mommy Shark, Hien, Han.

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