On Monday 25th July we were up early and ready for adventure! Instead, we were about to embark on a bit of a mental Monday!
I’d arranged for us to meet Caroline (who used to live in Phong Nha) at 9 Grains Bakery & Cafe in Hoi An, at 9.30am. She is now one of the 2 owners of it and they do great croissants so we decided we would meet her there for a civilised catch up. With our croissants I had a lovely pot of earl grey tea and Captain Caveman had a couple of espressos made with the freshly delivered Faifo Roastery coffee. The cafe soon filled up with expat families and Vietnamese groups and the AC was nice and cool. By about 11am Caroline had suggested we go to the beach but she needed to change, so we would go to her place, just around the corner. As we left, she gave me a bar of handmade coconut soap, which they make and sell in the cafe. My eczema had been playing up on my neck again so this would be good to use. Captain Caveman walked it, while I had a lift on Caroline’s Royal Enfield Himalayan motorbike.
When we arrived Vee, the dog, was barking and had a new friend, Bindi. The new friend was blind and was just here until she could go to her new home. Caroline’s new apartment was lovely and, once we had been given the tour round and got acquainted with the dogs, wine was ordered. We chatted loads and we took the piss out of each other, especially when we learned that Caroline had been the subject of a funny rumour. People had said that when she worked in the Australian Navy she had been a pastry chef, hence her now running a bakery – she wasn’t! Caroline made popcorn, well she is a chef, and we got through 2 bottles of wine with ice and soda before ordering more from the shop. Captain Caveman had arranged to meet up with some friends later but I was concerned we were getting a bit too merry to do that.
By 6pm Caroline had friends, Jake and Hawk, turn up and was almost setting fire to her own tea towel, while making more popcorn. I thought I’d met Jake before, he seemed familiar, but he said not. He then had to leave because he’d lost his wallet and his phone. Hawk, who we knew already, is a fitness instructor so didn’t have an alcoholic drink. Caroline can be a bit of a booze bully, a quality I like in a mate, so I continued on the white wine while her and Captain Caveman went on to beers. I took over making popcorn and I definitely shouldn’t have because Caroline had burned the pan already on the last lot and I almost set the towel on fire again. We were meant to be elsewhere at 5pm but at 6pm I was taking photos, still at Caroline’s place. I thought we left earlier but my camera said we were still there at 7.15pm so I think we may have upset Captain Caveman’s friends. We got a taxi and things were a bit hazy as to what happened for the next hour. I had wrongly assumed we had been back to the hotel to change to go out, but we didn’t.
By 8.45pm we were tucking in to starters of chicken livers wrapped in bacon and halloumi cheese, drinking a rather nice bottle of red wine and chatting to the restaurant owner. We were at Olivia’s Steak House in Danang, where Scott is the friendly owner of this place, as well as Dirty Fingers. For mains Captain Caveman and I both ordered an Australian steak which we had with macaroni cheese, asparagus, onions, cheesy jacket potato and pepper sauce. It was delicious and we both really enjoyed the food. The waitress was new and really lovely, she dealt with Captain Caveman well when he complained he didn’t get the drinking water quickly enough.
After dinner it is customary at Olivia’s to be given a shot of ice cold chocolate vodka and this time was no different. We had to do it in 2 goes because we were already too drunk and I was trying to get a video of us doing the shots.
When we called the Grab taxi and went out to get it, the car cancelled and was nowhere to be seen so Captain Caveman was cheesed off. In the end we paid 200,000vnd (£7) to go back to the hotel in one of those golf buggy type things. I was chuffed as I think they are cool and it stopped either of us risking being sick in a taxi.
The whole of our Monday had been a tad mental, by the time I got in to bed I already knew tomorrow would hurt!
Photo credit – some photos by Captain Caveman