I awoke fairly early on Tuesday 17th August but I didn’t bother with any breakfast while I checked the news. It was rather annoying that the UK still had Turkey on their Red list which meant going from Turkey to England required paid quarantine in a hotel and the cost was substantial (money I didn’t have). For some reason I was under the impression that the UK was already over 70% fully vaccinated but I was wrong, it was 60%. Vietnam couldn’t even compare for vaccination rates hence why there was consistently over 300 Corona deaths per day now. Captain Caveman came home fairly early and had enjoyed the party last night a bit too much. For lunch we had BBQ jackfruit with lettuce, cabbage, carrot, onion and garlic with a bit of bread and we arranged a taxi for tonight’s exciting night out. Ho Khanh was throwing a party for Colin and Watto leaving, at his place with all the Oxalis porters and cavers. I was invited so we booked Duyet for 5.30pm at a bargain cost of 300,000vnd (£9.60) return fare. Before we went I decided it would be a good idea for us to have a bit of tortilla as a snack, the porters are known for their drinking skills so I didn’t want to let the side down. I had my hair down and even wore a dress but by the time we got to the Glass House, which is opposite Ho Khanh’s, the party venue, I had felt a little unwell – I was convinced it was the egg. Luckily these days I’m much quicker at getting up the stairs so I went up to our room on the 2nd floor to use the bathroom there, then took some Gastropulgite medication. I felt better and we went over to the party just as it was getting set up; the cans of warm beer were being put in to buckets of icy water, hot chips and Vietnamese food were already divided on to a few tables, the cavers and Momma D were all sat at a table which we joined. Momma D was drinking alcoholic lemonade and kindly gave me one, her dog, Kevin, was trying not to get eaten by the resident Vietnamese dog, who was pretty aggressive towards other dogs. The Vietnamese insisted on splitting us westerners up so Colin, Captain Caveman and I were on a table with mostly porters and Hieu, a guide, while Watto, Howard, Deb and Momma D were sat by the river. The food was good, plenty of it, but unfortunately I had a taste of something spicy and it was a bit hot, after that I was quite unwell and I decided to go back to the Glass House to have a bit more privacy, toilet paper and the luxury of some soap. It felt like I had food poisoning and I was so hot it was unbelievable, I wasn’t sure I would make it back to the party and I was just forcing myself to go back, for the last half an hour, before Duyet came to pick us up, when Captain Caveman returned and said the party was already finished. He went to get me some rehydration tablets and some Giardia medication just in case I had got what the others’ had suffered. Luckily, I managed to get back to Elements without further incident and just felt really tired. Captain Caveman told me that a colleague had been informed he would get his 2nd vaccine by the 20th August so I hoped I would be on the same list to get mine, we were optimistic I would. He’d also been in touch with Bich who had confirmed there would be a shopping trip tomorrow, I decided Captain Caveman should go incase I still had stomach issues and then spent the next hour before sleep being roasting hot or freezing cold, I also felt a bit sick but had only had 2 drinks all night and not too much food.

Photo credit – Captain Caveman and various Oxalis team members

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