It was a pretty stressful day on Monday 30th August, day 5 of lockdown. Captain Caveman had forgotten to put his phone on silent the night before so it was pinging even before the loudspeaker man had got to work and I was a little crotchety at the phone going off between 5 and 5.30am. I went back to sleep and woke up when my phone went off at 7.45am, my alarm to check if I’d got to go for my 2nd vaccine today – still nothing! Captain Caveman went downstairs and came back to tell me that a bag of grapes and 2 mangos had been left on the table downstairs but he wasn’t sure where they came from. Veronika told Captain Caveman she already had mango and that we could have them so he put them in our fridge, Veronika put the grapes in her fridge, after Captain Caveman had snaffled a couple of them. I had a banana and a third of a mango for breakfast, our fruit supply was getting low so we had to be conservative with what we did have. I read in the news about a city in the south of Vietnam where, as markets were closed, they had come up with a good alternative, see below:
Today was 1 week until I would need to be having my PCR test so I contacted Bich to see if she could help me book an appointment for 6th September in the afternoon, in Dong Hoi. When she called me back she said that the CDC (who do the testing and provide the official stamped certificate to fly) were too busy out in the field, testing potential cases and they couldn’t do it. Bich also was going to organise us a food delivery from Dong Hoi so she needed a list sending as soon as we could and asked us to get Veronika to do one too. We did a list, just the basics plus a box of beers and I asked for the maximum number of each item so that she could just get whatever was available, it was Bich who sent us the grapes and mangos. As a precaution I decided to ask what the situation would be regarding my visa, which will expire on the 9th, if I can’t leave because of the PCR test or lockdown, I needed to be prepared. I got a very helpful response (but they were shocked that I still hadn’t booked a flight, yet) and I was informed I could get permission to go to Dong Hoi for the PCR test using a form, which I would need to complete and go to the People’s Committee with to give me permission to go to Dong Hoi. Helpful, but not much use if I can’t get an appointment for a PCR test in the first place! I was told they would investigate further and let me know and asked why I hadn’t booked the flight yet – I pointed out that it was a good job I hadn’t booked the one for this week as I was still not able to get the test and if I cancelled I would lose a lot of money, which I didn’t have.
We had more tortilla and salad for lunch and information came from various sources, including Bich and an Oxalis manager, that the lockdown would probably be extended. 
When a beer delivery arrived in the afternoon we were so glad and popped a few in the freezer to chill them quicker, Veronika said that, having spoken to Bich, they were trying to arrange her permission to move to the phong Nha Farmstay, to be with her family so she had decided to start packing up her stuff. I offered our help, since she was meant to be moving out on the 6th anyway, but she said she was only taking the essentials for now and that she wasn’t sure how long it would take to get the permission from the head guy. Captain Caveman and I were in the pool with our beers while Veronika frantically emptied her cupboards and fridge in the kitchen, she came upstairs with a glass and a bottle of water to sit on the balcony but she got a call from Bich straight away; permission was granted, Duyet was packing all her stuff in to the jeep and Bich and Ben were already at the blockade waiting for Veronika! She legged it off with a quick ‘see you, later’ and was off to drive her motorbike to the Farmstay – she had finally got her escape she wanted! We, on the other hand, stayed in the pool until dark occasionally getting another beer. That night I made a chicken, green bean and yellow pepper egg fried rice which tasted great – Captain Caveman said it was one of my best yet! We got a message later from Veronika to say that her exit had been quite an ordeal; all her stuff had to be carried across no man’s land with the guys on the blockade yelling and waving their arms in a very excited manner. Ben and Bich had to carry it in several trips and they told Veronka to disappear as her presence seemed to be upsetting the blockade guards.
So, day 5 of #STFAH turned out to be a bit of a bad day and we definitely weren’t prepared for Veronika’s removal of her oven  at short notice – roast potatoes for tomorrow had gone out of the window!

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