St. Patrick’s Day this year was one to remember and the Phong Nha Farmstay certainly did their best to help with that! On Wednesday 17th March the tannoy was going off at 5.30am and we had put in a complaint to the tourism board to get it turned off, or at least down. It was hot and very humid as I had my toast for breakfast then got ready for our Bong Lai Valley trip at 11am. Ben drove the jeep with Hamish, Mik, Kendra, Bryan, Daria and Matija and finally me in it. On the way there Ben likes to give the jeep a good go through the river and at one particular spot where we were about to cross, there was an old fella on his motorbike, stuck in the river. We waited but then Ben got impatient and decided to try to cross and we got stuck. We had to climb out into the water as the back of the jeep started to sink in a bit and then the engine wouldn’t start. Quy from the Pub with Cold Beer came and they sent a truck for towing us out. It was really exciting and then I got special disabled rights of a lift to the pub on the back of Quy’s motorbike, while the others walked the last bit of the way. As always the BBQ chicken, pork, nem lui, sticky rice and peanut sauce were amazing and I ate quite a lot. We saved some for Ben, who had gone to get the vehicle fixed and I chatted a lot to Daria. I managed to drink 2 Saigon beers and had no ill effects while Hamish, Kendra and Bryan went in the pool.

Ben arrived with a fixed jeep and the owner insisted on extra chillies in his sauces and a coke. When we got back I had a shower and got changed so we could meet back up for the St Paddy’s Day pool party, organised by Ben and Bich at the Phong Nha Farmstay. It was too cold for me to swim so I had a couple of ciders and chatted with Mik. Hamish had been a bit down because his girlfriend, Ania, had told him she couldn’t make it to Phong Nha as she needed to stay in Saigon to sort out her work permit but Kendra had been keeping a secret all day. Ania was on her way here and would be arriving at the Farmstay at 8pm. We had all ordered food but Bich told us the kitchen had some issues so we had to wait but it was really so that Ania could join us for dinner. While Hamish went to plug in his phone Ania arrived and hid behind the bar, Kendra sent him over to order another drink and we were all shocked at how speechless Hamish was when Ania was stood there!
There was a special menu of sausages, chips and curry sauce/gravy which I had, some of the others had meat pie instead. And the lovely Ania had even brought some homemade cheesecake for us all. I had such an exciting day, full of laughter, food and drink (my favourite things) but tomorrow I would need to stay in and watch the money a bit more carefully!

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