It was a funny old day on Sunday 23rd May, full of tricky decision making. I was awake at 6am, reading the news and checking my list of jobs left for me by Captain Caveman; Corona death number 42 had been reported in Vietnam. Unfortunately the first of my tasks, which then lead to all the others, was to arrange to pick up my passport, which had not arrived yet. Our Plan A had consisted of flying to Saigon tonight, staying for a couple of nights, flying to Tam Ky, staying 4 nights at Le Domaine de Tam Hai resort then flying back via Saigon. Without a passport I knew I couldn’t get on the flight so Plan B was for us to either wait until the next day or for Captain Caveman to go ahead of me and then I would go the next day, seeing as my passport was ‘definitely’ going to be back by the 24th! Plan C was looking more likely in that we could take a private car from Phong Nha to Tam Hai, thus not needing my passport, and miss out Saigon, but was fractionally more expensive than flying there, and would take a day of travelling. Plan D, which could happen if the corona cases kept increasing at the rate they were, was to maybe just stay in Phong Nha!
I packed my bag then checked my phone every few seconds, waiting for my visa agent to let me know my passport had arrived – unfortunately she didn’t sound sure it would. I made enquiries about all of Plans A-D in readiness for a discussion with my other half, and holiday buddy, later! I was super organised and left no detail explored while still hoping for my passport to show up. I had a banana and some M&Ms for breakfast, then cheese and brown rice crackers for lunch, I’d hopefully be eating dinner in Thao Dien, Saigon, with friends later tonight.
Captain Caveman was on his way out of Son Doong just after I’d eaten lunch and all his customers were on a flight that evenin. I got a message to say he was on the bus heading back to Phong Nha and that he’d be at the Glass House in 20 minutes. He needed an update as to what was going on with my passport and Corona restrictions so I sent him my findings.
In conclusion the decision for Captain Caveman now was one of the following:
Plan A: go to SGN 23/5 17.45 alone
Plan B: go to SGN 24/5 with Jo (passport permitting)
Plan C: no SGN, book a car to Tam Hai Mon/Tue, decide later to come back via car or flight
Plan D: stay in Phong Nha for his week off.
If you were Captain Caveman, what would you have done? And what decision do you think he actually made?
In between me sending my updated situation list to Captain Caveman and me speaking to him, Caroline at Le Domaine de Tam Hai had been super busy and helpful. She was an absolute star in getting me more details and attempting to do all she could so that we could go there for a holiday without flying and without my passport, if it didn’t turn up.
I got a message from a freshly showered Captain Caveman to tell me he was cycling back to Elements and to book a lift with Duyet for 4.30pm to take both of us to the Phong Nha Farmstay. He was meeting his customers there for cocktails before their flight, which Captain Caveman had decided not to take with them.
When it got to 4.30pm Captain Caveman was already downstairs and I went to join him, he said we would get the flight tomorrow, once (if) I had my passport back. At the Farmstay I was introduced to Captain Caveman’s group who were mainly french, very nice and not getting their flight to Saigon until 8pm, so were leaving at 6pm. We had margaritas and chatted about the Son Doong tour. Thien, one of the customers, poured us all a glass of champagne which they had brought with them and I had a glass or two. We shared some brie and iberico meats with the group – what a fantastic treat. Veronika joined us just in time for a bit of brie and we all watched the sunset before they had to leave for the airport – without us!
We stayed at the Farmstay and had more wine and a Sunday Roast which had crackling on this time and was really good. It was a shame we hadn’t been able to set off for our holiday but my agent had reassured me that the passport would be with her tomorrow.