I was awake early on Wednesday 28th July and not because it was my turn to go on the shopping trip today. I was worried about my friend who was still trying to get back to South Africa, he’d had an horrendous night and had ended up walking 5km to find water and food, which he didn’t because all shops are closed for the evening curfew in Saigon. Because this morning shops were open from 6am he found a 7-11 and got an egg and cheese sandwich which he said was disgusting but he loved it.
Captain Caveman went off to Phong Nha for work, he had given me the money for shopping, we had just over a week until pay day so things were pretty tight and I had my shopping list at the ready. We’d already had a message from Ben asking who was going and saying we would only be going to the organic shop and Co-op Mart so Veronika, after her traumatic experience last week, decided not to come along. I was told my pick up was at 8am and so I went outside ready for that, at 8.05am Duyet told me to get in the jeep to go to the Farmstay so I thought Bich may have told him to bring me there.  As I was leaving Ben arrived to pick me up so I switched cars and off we went to pick up 2 customers at the Phong Nha Farmstay. At 8.45am Bich was ready to leave so off we all went to Dong Hoi and on the way she asked if we wanted to go anywhere specific and suggested Tuan Viet Gourmet so I said yes. My South African bound friend managed to get checked in for his flight to Singapore and was happy to be on his way at last. I got a few bits in the shop, including treating us to a bottle of wine for just under a tenner. Our next stop was the organic shop where I managed to get a couple of things from my list. Next, Bich dropped us at Co-op Mart and went to pick up something, I managed to get quite a bit from the list but there were no eggs or chicken and it was surprisingly empty so Veronika would have been fine. When we left the supermarket I mentioned to Bich I still hadn’t been able to get chicken or BBQ sauce so we stopped at Horeca and I got those plus some cheese. I had thought I’d get 2 lots of BBQ sauce but it wasn’t cheap so I put one back, while I waited for them to find me some frozen chicken breasts which they kept in the back of the small shop.

Here’s my list of the shopping I bought, prices in Vietnamese Dong. I bet you can see straight away the things I shouldn’t have been tempted to buy, which exceeded the tight budget rule;

Tuan Viet Supermarket
Green beans 14,500
Gluten free stock cubes 22,000
2 red peppers 26,220
6 Mangosteen 27,000
2 dragon fruit 30,360
1 packet of penne pasta 35,000
1 jar of green olives 45,000
1 bottle of red wine 310,000

Total 510,080vnd (£15.81)

Organic Shop
1 red cabbage 51,150
300g of beef 90,000

Total 141,150vnd (£4.38)

Co-op Mart
Broccoli 9,741
Carrots 11,085
2 packets of crisps 23,000
Pumpkin 27,422
Tomato puree sauce 28,400
Potatoes 36,527
2 Strongbow cider 36,600
2 packs of Mushrooms 64,000

Total 236,775vnd (£7.34)

Horeca
250g cheddar cheese slices 65,000
200g cream cheese 68,000
125g brie 90,000
2 bottles of BBQ sauce 150,000
2kg chicken breast 180,000

Total 553,000vnd (£17.14)

Is there anything you think I missed or shouldn’t have bought?

Bich had a request from one of the Farmstay guests to bring back some Banh Loc (which smelled of fish sauce so bad) and we made a new rule; whoever doesn’t go on the shopping trip has to order the smelliest food for the others to have to bring back on the 45 minute car journey!


When I got home  Captain Caveman was a bit cheesed off because he had set off this morning to go on the Tu Lan take down trip but when he got to Oxalis it had been postponed until Friday but he hadn’t been told. Luckily Watto, who is going back to the UK next month, had given him a toaster – he was happy about that. So, my other half was in a mood, I was starving hungry and decided that a croissant with a slice of cheddar cheese on would be an amazing brunch – of course this made me terribly ill for about an hour.
I got a message from Tatas to say that her home isolation had ended 9 days early because her landlord had tested negative 3 times and she was already at work, in a meeting. Captain Caveman and I drank wine by the pool in the late afternoon, I snacked on crisps and longans and we discussed Captain Caveman’s plans for the off-season (September to December) this year. Vietnam has been promising that they were going to reduce the quarantine period for experts entering Vietnam to just 7 days followed by 14 days self isolation ‘at home’ but they still had not implemented it and as it stood it would be 14 days quarantine then 14 days self isolation. Given that Captain Caveman would need to be ready to work in November it didn’t leave much time for him to come to Turkey. He decided that it would be too risky to get stuck in either Turkey or Vietnamese quarantine and potentially not be able to work when needed so he would not leave Vietnam this year. We both agreed that while the pandemic was still continuing as it is, it would be sensible for him to stay in Phong Nha. 
For dinner we used the leftover stew from yesterday and added the beef I bought today to have the same delicious meal we had last night. I noticed that at Horeca they had still charged me for 2 bottles of BBQ sauce so I messaged Bich to see if she could let them know so I could rectify it on the next shopping trip.

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