On Friday 27th August, at 5.30am the loudspeaker was really going for it this morning with a man speaking for an hour first and then a woman for over half an hour, we hadn’t got a clue what they were saying and it was still darkish outside. We’d been promised a week’s worth of storms and cooler weather for our 7 days of lockdown and #STFAH, typical when we have a pool to be in and some shadebathing to do. I didn’t go back to sleep as we were both checking our phones for updates on the Corona crisis and whether any cases were actually near to us – there were certainly plenty of rumours that there was, but no evidence to support it. The housekeeping staff were here by 8am and we all congregated in the kitchen where I found Duyet’s delivery. Thankfully, he was able to get us bananas, dragon fruit, bread and 2kg of rice, but there were no vegetables being brought to sell at the market because of the lockdown. He’d done well and I was still pleased he had managed to get us what he had, we were very lucky, I was glad that I had doubled my bread amount at the last minute to 4 baguettes instead of 2. Veronika was surprised as she didn’t think the market would be open at all and she said she may have to ask him to get her some things, as she was running low on food, she was also making a pot of soup! We had bacon sandwiches and used Stu’s bacon sparingly now that we were only in day 2 of lockdown but had bread.
Even though we were in lockdown and my leaving Vietnam plans were being a bit scuppered we continued trying to sort stuff out. Captain Caveman communicated with Vinh, his colleague who got the other 4 cavers to Hanoi airport only 9 days ago, I communicated with Bich and Danny, the driver. We spent most of the day ‘on it’ only to end up with the following outcomes:
The driver couldn’t go any earlier than 6th September, Bich said it was a no go to be able to get my PCR test as all the people doing them were busy and Vinh also said we must wait until the end of lockdown. Saigon had been in lockdown for almost 3 months so we didn’t accept those answers and pushed on to try alternative ways!! Independence Day was coming up so it also meant that some people wouldn’t be working from 2nd to 5th September so I was conscious that any paperwork we needed should be sought before then.
For lunch we had hot dog sausages with ketchup but we didn’t use the baguettes because we needed to be careful with the bread we had – make it last. We had bananas for a snack and I had 2 frivolous beers in the pool while Veronika pulled up a chair on her balcony and told us how she had tried to escape, again! She had taken her motorbike 1km towards the Farmstay, where the blockade is and was told “No!” (again) and then had to come back.
We broke off the planning my escape for one of the best dinners ever; Stu’s pulled pork with white cabbage in our remaining baguettes – pure bliss!!!
All in all, a tiring and unproductive day but if I couldn’t leave any earlier I now had a provisional booking with Danny the driver from Hanoi, who would pick me up on 7th September, I’d spend the night in Hanoi airport, get the lunchtime flight the next day, do 8 hours in Singapore transit, fly to Istanbul and arrive in Dalyan on the 9th! The day my visa expires and my 2nd vaccine should have been due by.
Before bed I saw a friend on Facebook had posted that the Phong Nha market would be closed tomorrow but that our market, in Khuong Ha, was open. Duyet confirmed he would be able to try his luck at getting the vegetables he couldn’t get today so I resent him a list with more ‘essentials’ added, I even tried my luck for green beans and more bread and Captain Caveman popped over with the money for him – we would see tomorrow when we woke up what the situation was.