Having had a lovely deep sleep, Captain Caveman was awake before 6am on Sunday 4th April. I was still incredibly tired, having had very little sleep and took a few minutes to understand when Captain Caveman said our flight was delayed. We were booked on the 12.20 from Saigon back to Dong Hoi which was now due to leave at 14.30, giving us an extra 2 hours. We’d already arranged to meet friends at Lubu for breakfast at 8.30am so we stuck with the original plan and it just meant we could take it more leisurely. A couple of friends had to cancel but still on the guest list were Keith from Grimsby (who got back from Phong Nha late last night) and Andrea, who also brought her friend, Anne. We had packed, checked out of the lovely Common Inn and got a Grab taxi to the restaurant, where it turned out we had been before for tapas a few years ago. The food was really great and I had the best pot of earl grey tea and a bacon sandwich I’d had in a long time. At Lubu there is a free Bloody Mary included in the breakfast which the others all had and Captain Caveman even had a second breakfast of a buttered crumpet and I tasted it, I loved it. I’d been eating gluten all weekend without any problem but for some reason both Captain Caveman and I had bad stomachs after breakfast and he had to pop to a chemist for imodium.

We said our goodbyes to everyone after a lovely breakfast and got our Grab taxi to the airport. Just as we were about to board the plane a massive downpour came, I heard it on the roof first but Captain Caveman reckoned it was the sound of the planes! Typically, I hadn’t brought a rain jacket so it was a good job there was a bus to the plane, there was a lot of pushing and shoving up the steps and I eventually got sat down on the back seat.

Captain Caveman’s video of the rain at Saigon airport

Our original flight from Saigon on Sunday 4th April should have been landing in Dong Hoi just before 2pm. I had arranged for Kimmie, my visa agent, to meet me as we landed and so had to reschedule her as well as Captain Caveman having to change our pick up car. Luckily our vehicle was picking up some Oxalis customers who were also on our flight and so we were able to get the same car (for free) and get Captain Caveman back in time for his Son Doong briefing at Oxalis Home. It did mean that I had to get dropped off along the way, instead of going home to shower or change and, as luck would have it, another night out was on the horizon. It was Hamish and Ania’s last night in Phong Nha, they had decided to leave earlier than intended so we had picked the ideal spot for a bit of a leaving do – at the Lake House.
I had thought I’d be late but it turned out I was early and ordered some fried rice to line my stomach with before the shenanigans started. Tham and Tony, the Lake House owners, joined me for a chat and it was reassuring to hear that Captain Caveman and I may have been out of town but we were still being talked about! Tham insisted that we had moved in with Shannon, Stu and the kids and would not have it that we hadn’t – the guy who told her is apparently more reliable than one of the people involved. Tony and I found it funny and were still laughing as Hamish and Ania arrived. They had been on a lively one the previous night and were feeling a bit delicate so we all had to have a soft drink while we waited for Tatas to arrive. She arrived, wearing a really nice dress and ready to party – we were both going to miss Hamish and Ania! They were an entertaining couple that was for sure and we chatted about meeting up again in the not so distant future. Tatas and I got a bottle of the cheapest (but still very good) red wine, the others went for a nice bottle of white wine. Everyone but Tatas decided to have the Australian beef steak and, for 275,000vnd (£8.53), it is fantastic. Tequilas were requested and poor Tham brought 2 in martini glasses thinking that’s how much you get in a shot! In the end Tony took over and just brought the whole bottle out. It was a brilliant night and obviously got a bit messy. We had to wake the security guard up to sort out a taxi home and the waitress took Tatas home, we had had such a laugh and I had limited myself to the small shot glass for my Tequila, in case I’d had to walk home! When we came to pay Tony insisted he pay for the tequilas and would not let us leave until we finished the whole bottle, even though he had an interview tomorrow and his wife had long since gone to bed! Captain Caveman was pleased I was getting a taxi home as it meant he could go straight home after his briefing and have a relatively early night before his next trip to Son Doong tomorrow. Because he had cycled Bluey to the Glass House on the morning of the 1st April, she was still there and so he rode her home that night, thinking I would need her while he was gone for my exercise routine.

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