I woke up at 6am on Wednesday 5th May feeling like I could drink a dirty puddle and did not welcome the leftover Jameson’s nightcap on the bedside table next to my pillow or the amount of daylight streaming in to the room at Phong Nha Lake House. Tatas was still fast asleep, in the bed next to mine, completely under the cover and grinding her teeth. Luckily there was water in the fridge and I had slept in the robe provided rather than my own dress so I drank water then tried to go back to sleep and couldn’t. Tatas had her overnight bag with her because she had planned to stay at mine but I had nothing but a short backless dress to go to breakfast in! Tatas said she would be ages getting ready so I went without her and had a pho bo and an apple juice trying to sort out my hangover from hell.
I remembered that I had agreed to go to Dong Hoi on a shopping trip with Veronika in less than 2 hours! Tatas said she would give me a lift home on her motorbike and when we arrived at Elements Collection the gardening lady, who had seen me go out last night, saw me arrive in last night’s clothes – I’d be the talk of the village again! I went to get a shower but there was a huge spider in the bathroom so I had to message Duyet to come and get it, with his gloves on! I had just a bit of time for a lay down on the bed until 11am when we went to sit outside to wait for Bich to pick us up.
A firm favourite, Tree Hugger cafe in Dong Hoi was our first stop, for lunch. Veronika was tetchy because she hadn’t had any coffee and was being a bit demanding about having her coffee immediately, but the waiter had to come back upstairs to the table to say they didn’t have my chicken salad, only beef salad and she asked he get her coffee now! I shared my salad and some spring rolls with Bich who had a mixed smoothie with extra ice-cream in.
The afternoon was a long one as we went to every supermarket and organic shop in Dong Hoi for the next 3 hours. Medicare, VinMart, Toan Viet Gourmet, Thinh Tien, An Nong and Co-op Mart all with a hangover still and a tight budget, but I managed to get most things on my shopping list. Captain Caveman had returned from his 4 day Tu Lan trip and had gone straight to Chay Lap for the after party that night and so he decided to stay at the Glass House. I had some bread and butter with crisps for my dinner, 2 of my favourite foods and didn’t get a bad stomach! I tried to go to bed early but couldn’t sleep and so I finished watching Below Deck on Netflix.
For those of you who like a list and love to know how prices and produce can vary in a different country, here is what I bought, while hungover and not too focused on what I was doing, on Wednesday 5th May:
Prices are in VND I’ve listed the cheapest thing first in each shop. (£1 is around 32,500vnd).
A baguette 9,000
1kg of carrots 14,504
10 eggs 26,700
2 cans of Strongbow cider 37,000
270g mushrooms 75,522
250ml extra virgin olive oil 91,300
700g of green grapes 96,466
400g pasta sauce (Bolognese) 122,000
250g butter 137,000
Tuan Viet Gourmet supermarket
1 pack of plain crisps 11,000
Green beans 14,100
500g Rice noodles 25,000
1 red cabbage 33,000
Pasta sauce (tomato) 99,000
GF crispbreads 105,000
Tinh Tien supermarket
Wild berry boiled sweets 65,000
2 jars of popcorn kernels 104,000
1 bar of 85% dark chocolate 105,000
An Nong Organic shop
1 small white cabbage 18,560
1 tin of coconut milk 40,000
6 bananas 40,275
1 chicken thigh fillet 87,500
1 box of brown rice crackers 90,000
1 chicken breast fillet 102,675
I spent nothing as the only things on my list that I still had to buy weren’t available – BBQ sauce and pickled onions.
The shopping total came to 1,671,867vnd which is £51.83 in English money. My lunch and a coke cost me around a fiver so quite an expensive day but a fuller cupboard and fridge.
How does this compare with your shopping? Did it surprise you that butter is so expensive here?