I found Sunday 12th June to be a more positive day. I decided to make some plans to go out, while Captain Caveman was on day 3 of his 4 day tour. Tomorrow, Captain Caveman would come out in the afternoon, have a shower, put the washing in and repack to go back in the cave. He would attend the briefing of the next group instead of the gala dinner of the existing group and be back in Son Doong the day after, for another 4 days. This was disappointing for me but I focused on him having 2 days off on the 18th of this month, so only 6 days to wait until we could do something together, perhaps.
I didn’t bother with any breakfast but I did have a lovely lunch. I’d taken another mystery jar out of the freezer to find that Captain Caveman had made Bolognese with pork mince and bacon. There was further disruption to my exercise schedule this week as the dead bird was still in the pool. By this time I had seen Duyet who had sent another man to remove the dead bird from the pool. He couldn’t find the bird even when I was pointing to it while wrapped in my towel, having just got out of the shower.
I decided to ask Duyet for a lift to the Phong Nha Farmstay, for my first time this year, where I hoped they still had a bar and a happy hour. While I was waiting to get in the jeep I noticed we had a new pet. Unfortunately, Carrot the dog was no longer with us so it looked like we now had a squirrel. In a cage.
The word for squirrel in Vietnamese is sóc so I promptly named it Sox. There was water and banana for it to eat but it was quite shy and looked a bit scared of me.
The drive up to the Farmstay brought back memories as I saw the farmers planting or tending to the rice paddies along the way.
When I arrived and logged in to the free WiFi (I still didn’t have a SIM card yet) I noticed Kat had been trying to call me. She only uses Instagram but I didn’t have notifications turned on for it. Kat and Buu had decided to come join me at the Farmstay for happy hour and a Sunday Roast. I couldn’t believe my luck when I discovered that there was draft beer and the Sunday dinner had been restarted too. As I was at the bar I noticed there were some pretty good ‘not on the menu’ specials, including the notorious Sam Mackenzie Veggie pie, apparently available every day. The staff were still getting used to having international customers again but there were a few of us about, including a lady I remembered seeing just as the pandemic hit Vietnam. As I had been desperate to eat pork again I ordered my roast dinner with just pork and no lamb, Kat and Buu shared a meal and ordered a Spaghetti Bolognese too. I had the red wine which came with the deal too. It was good to see Kat and Buu again who had remained in Vietnam throughout the pandemic. We chatted with Bich too, who had some funny stories from her recent Australia trip. There was a new book on display at the Phong Nha Farmstay which Veronika and her friend, Sue, had written about the local area of Cu Nam. It was a available for a minimum 100,000vnd (£3.60) donation towards the village museum. I donated 200,000vnd for a copy of it and popped it in my bag to read by the pool one day. Kat and I shared my chocolate fondant cake as it’s very rich and she hadn’t tried it before. She shared her carrot cake with Buu and offered me some but by this time I was too full. The set price of 300,000vnd (£10.80) was the same as last year but I did notice the portions, although a generous portion, weren’t quite as big as the last time I had one. I ended up with lamb and pork despite my ordering specifically without lamb because the staff forgot, there was no crackling and the Yorkshire pudding was small – I suspected the oven was opened during the cooking process. I enjoyed my dinner and I even took half home to pop in the freezer.
After saying our goodbyes and agreeing to meet up for wine drinking at a girls night for us cave widows we all went home. I got a lift back with Duyet after having an extra beer because the happy hour had not included draft beer but I’d had 1 draft and 1 bottle, so now I needed 1 more bottle. Even though the draught beer was so much nicer it was 45,000vnd (£1.62) for a half so I would have to limit them. My total spend for today had been 600,000vnd (£21.60) which was kind of a bit over our usual budget, but did include a book, 4 alcoholic drinks, a dinner and a pudding.

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