Our SD cards had finally arrived from Lazada and so on Thursday 8th July Captain Caveman cycled to Phong Nha to pick them up. I unpacked my suitcases hoping I wouldn’t have to repack them too soon but (just in case) I left all my winter stuff and the BBQ in the big one. I had 2 gluten free, almond milk pancakes with a banana and honey while reading the Vietnamese news. The Saigon lockdown had started with panic at the supermarkets, read more here:
I made jackfruit seed curry to pop in the freezer with all the stuff we had in the fridge and it was a joint effort on the lunch. We had chicken topped with pulled BBQ jackfruit, carrot, cabbage and gherkins on baguette and it was really good (much better with the chicken). I didn’t go in the pool today because, even though it was a warm day, my eczema was playing up and I didn’t want it to get worse, as it does from the swimming pool. I also needed to get ready for the second of our Phong Nha Ladies Nights which looked to be fun!
We had planned our second phong Nha Ladies Night at Momma D’s rooftop bar! There were about 16 people invited and we had done a vote which had confirmed the majority wanted it to be on a Thursday, most people wanted it to start earlier and they wanted it sooner than having to wait a whole month for the next one. Shannon had the whole day off so was happy to get there at 4pm and then we could have sunset drinks, others who were working wanted to go about 6 or 7pm so, as is usual, no-one could agree on the leaving time for our car. I decided Shannon, Captain Caveman and I would book Duyet to take us at 5pm and we would pay 300,000vnd (£9.30) for the return journey. This way we could go with Captain Caveman who had his Son Doong briefing at Oxalis and needed to be on time. Unfortunately that meant Captain Caveman and I were already spending 200,000vnd out of our budget before I had even eaten or drank, so I decided I would only have something cheap to drink and not go mad tonight. By the time we set off there were fewer than the 16 that had said they were coming and so numbers were already diminishing and Tatas, my usual drinking partner, was in Son Doong so couldn’t come. Shannon and I had felt quite tired and so she ordered a coffee and I just had a Huda beer because it meant I could have more drinks, the cheaper they were.
First to join us was Diem who was excited to be able to come out this time, then next to arrive was Tham, with a big smile on her face and she had brought duck for everyone to share. Next was Bich who started the party off with a Bloody Mary, Huyen arrived shortly after that, bringing a big bag of sim fruit for everyone to share. It was the first time of trying them for me but they taste a bit like blueberries wrapped in a then layer of carpet or fuzzy felt. I ordered roasted peanuts and tacos, some of the others ordered various things from the extensive menu including nachos and pies. Momma D gave us all free frozen Bellini shots and some extra peanuts to share. Unfortunately for various reasons we had 3 more ladies cancel after we had started the evening so only 7 out of the invited 16 were in attendance, including Momma D, but we were still up for a good time. The BBQ duck was a winner as everyone shared it, I didn’t have any but everyone said it was delicious.
After a couple of Huda beers I decided to try Momma D’s own draft lager which she had recommended and was very nice – not as gassy as the Huda. The 7 of us had a very civilised evening and by 8.30pm most of the Vietnamese ladies were ready to go. I had booked Duyet to take us back when Captain Caveman finished work and could join us so the westerners had another beverage and Captain Caveman had a quick Huda when he arrived. As we were leaving there was a bit of a storm brewing and some heavy rain came but luckily Captain Caveman was able to help me on the stairs and down the ramp to the pavement. I’d enjoyed my night out despite spending just over 500,000vnd (£16) on food, drink and transport meaning I’d need to be very frugal with the housekeeping over the next few weeks, as we had a few events coming up.