Phong Nha – the 2nd weekend of June

Phong Nha – the 2nd weekend of June

On Friday 12th June we got a car in to The Villas (aka Victory Road Villas) for breakfast. It was 8 weeks since the day of my ankle and knee injury and although I’d made some progress I was still unable to do stairs and was so slow and incompetent with crutches. Captain Caveman had already joined an American caver’s breakfast table and was being passed the menu by the time I got to a seat. I ordered pho while Captain Caveman and Tatas had one of the massive breakfast options available – those sausages looked good! I had a swim and it was so hot that even the 32°C pool cooled us down. Veronika arrived so I went inside to join her and enjoy the Aircon. I ordered a burger (no bun) for lunch and it was really nice, there was even beetroot on it. My usual favourite is the confit duck leg but I decided to be adventurous for a change. We didn’t stop for Happy Hour this time as Captain Caveman had to get to his Son Doong briefing and I was tired, so we got a taxi back home.
I had strawberries and gluten free biscuits for dinner, did my Turkish lessons and had just one glass of red wine later on.

Saturday 13th June was pretty tame, after Captain Caveman left for his next Son Doong tour. His alarm was set for 7am and mine for ten past so that he could get all his preparation jobs done before he went. There was no longer hot or iced tea being made as he had tired of that job already but I could live without tea quite easily. He was ready early but decided he didn’t fancy doing the washing up. I was a bit miffed by this given 2 items were his, two were shared and only 1 (a wine glass) was mine. When he’d left I was determined to wash them myself and so I used a drawstring cotton toiletry bag to put each item in to carry them about. I only managed the glasses because I couldn’t pick up the bowl off the floor yet but it took me 45 minutes in total and I was exhausted.
I had a late breakfast of cheese and far too much fruit and then suffered a bad stomach which didn’t bode well for my evening entertainment. For lunch I had plain chicken and crisps then decided I felt well enough for a dish full of strawberries (which was a mistake).
I watched Tiny Houses on Netflix, did some Turkish and some writing but was unable to make it to a party at Ho Khanh’s. As I didn’t feel well I was in bed nice and early and enjoying having some relaxation.

If you thought Saturday’s update of me managing to wash 3 glasses was exciting, well you’re in for a treat on Sunday 14th June.
I had one of those days where I did hardly anything! I had make-do food, mainly because of my stomach still being a little delicate and us having an awful lot of strawberries to get through.
I checked the Corona virus data, as I had been doing every day, and the summary for the week was as follows: Vietnam had recorded 4 more cases in a week (all on flights back home to Vietnam, who were quarantined on arrival) and 16 had recovered, making a 96% recovery rate.
This week the UK had recorded a further 7,100 cases and 1,200 deaths which to some people back home was being perceived as getting better – it was less numbers than last week but I wasn’t convinced of an improvement. Turkey had 4,000 new cases in the past week and 200 deaths.
I’d got in to a Netflix series called Cabins in the Wild which was really good and then I was in bed early, watching Filthy Rich, the documentary about Jeffrey Epstein. I’d enjoyed doing nothing and I was looking forward to the coming week, tomorrow I was taking myself off on a little trip.

Phong Nha – 11th June

Phong Nha – 11th June

For breakfast on Thursday 11th June I had cheese, gluten free crackers and a mango, Captain Caveman had a mango too – he’s not usually one for fruit. My ankle had finally stopped swelling and looked loads better but I’d ran out of medication so Captain Caveman had been asked to get me some from town. For lunch I made do with strawberries, crisps and sweets but for dinner we had the chicken combo from East Hill, which I had a can of strongbow with!
Although I had no idea when it would be possible to leave the country I still had plans to go to Turkey this year but now I had no flights booked. I had managed to book a flight to Dalaman for 2021 from the UK for after my friend’s wedding. Easy Jet had let me change it for free despite it being a much more expensive flight in the school holidays. I’d only paid £60 for it and if I ended up not going it wouldn’t be too much money to lose.
It was a fairly quiet day and I got quite a bit of Turkish done and some exercise for my leg. I had also booked myself in for another break away from home and was going to see the physio after the weekend.
I decided the next day we were going out and told Captain Caveman to book us a car for the morning.

Phong Nha – 10th June

Phong Nha – 10th June

On Wednesday 10th June I could not help myself, I had leftover cheese for breakfast. Captain Caveman went out and while he was gone an arrangement was made to go to The Villas in the afternoon. My sit down shower was not nearly as nice as the sunken bath at Phong Nha Farmstay and I was genuinely feeling a little glum at being back home. Captain Caveman had arranged with Caroline to have happy hour cocktails at Victory Road Villas and I was going to make use of the pool too, so we got a taxi there. I found it easy enough to get to the seating area overlooking the pool and I ordered a pineapple juice before changing in to my swimmers. One of our favourite waitresses, Ha, was working and she really looked after us. I had a little swim and did a few exercises in the pool and managed to not slip getting in or out.

When Caroline arrived, her and Captain Caveman got on the frozen margaritas which Ha makes really well. The popcorn and cocktails kept on coming and I succumbed to a Sangria (filled with fruit, so a healthy option). Our housemate Seamouse popped in for a swim and then joined us for a beer and popcorn, River (the dog) tried her best to get some stray pieces and Ha brought her a tub of fresh drinking water. By the time it got to dinner time Seamouse had left, Caroline and Captain Caveman were sloshed and I was perusing the Usual Suspects menu and specials board. Both Captain Caveman and I ordered the confit duck leg (my favourite) and Caroline ordered the victory burger with a couple of extra patties for River. They were getting down the drinks and I was still on my second sangria but decided to go mad and order a third. While Caroline went home by motorbike, River got in the back of our taxi. We dropped her off at her house and she seemed to have really enjoyed the outing, I was also glad to get out and enjoy some great food.

Photo credit Captain Caveman and Caroline Borrow

Phong Nha – 9th June

Phong Nha – 9th June

After hardly any sleep on my first night back home I was a bit crotchety and already missing Phong Nha Farmstay and its luxurious Jungalo Collection pool villas. On Tuesday 9th June Captain Caveman didn’t seem too hungover but he was obviously desperate for coffee. He headed off to Coffee Station to meet Caroline and Ha so he could have espressos and Eggs Benedict while I had peanut M&Ms for breakfast. Later I fancied a snack so we cracked open the cashews which Captain Caveman had bought in Dong Hoi, only to find they were garlic and chilli flavoured and not edible.

We invited D-Dub over for dinner and were ordering East Hill chicken but they didn’t have any available (disaster) so we decided to order from Capture café. I had an amazing cheeseboard (without bread), D-Dub the falafel with humus, pitta and Greek salad, Captain Caveman obviously had pizza and we had mangosteens for dessert. We had a lovely evening with the boys having gin and tonics while I had a couple of small glasses of red wine.

Phong Nha – 8th June

Phong Nha – 8th June

Captain Caveman and I have never been those types of people that, at the end of a holiday, like to get home. On Monday 8th June I certainly didn’t have that feeling and could have happily moved in to Phong Nha Farmstay indefinitely. It was time to return to Dong Hoi to have my leg checked but before we left we had a lovely breakfast and a chat with Bich. I was so grateful for all the effort and attention the whole family had shown me and I felt a little emotional leaving. A whole week at the Farmstay had been better than anything a doctor could have prescribed and I was leaving feeling much better, both physically and mentally. Had I not just been there for rest and recuperation there had been many activities I could have taken advantage of. I’d not left the premises but if I had, there was plenty to see and do – on previous visits I had enjoyed the morning walk with Ben and I love seeing all the animals wandering about.

Bich arranged for her trusted driver, Hai, to take us to the clinic and we had a busy day planned before heading home – no time for ice creams or happy hour today!

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At the clinic there was a little confusion as they asked us to go back to Cuba hospital to have another MRI but we couldn’t understand why. I didn’t want to and could see no benefit in doing so, Captain Caveman agreed and we decided to head straight to Tree Hugger for lunch with Des. We had a great time and I even had my first white russian in ages!!! The men had sandwiches and I had the veggie spring rolls for lunch before heading back to find Multi’s recommended physio. We scoped it out and I would bring a translator and book in for some sessions soon but we were running out of time and needed to get back home because Captain Caveman had a party to get to. It was the 9th birthday celebration of Oxalis and there was a small party at Oxalis Home. I was invited but because of the issue of getting there, safely getting about and me not drinking beer or able to do the conga, I politely declined. Instead I managed to order lots of produce from the fruit girl, including our favourite – mangosteens. Captain Caveman came home in a right mess, he was so drunk but had still managed to bring me a curry from Namaste (impressive). Before I could get ready for bed he had fell asleep on the bed, fully clothed and holding on to my foot – he wouldn’t let go. He was going to have a hangover tomorrow.

Photo credit to Captain Caveman, Ben & Bich at the Farmstay.

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Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 7

Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 7

For breakfast on Sunday 7th June we both had a fry up. Captain Caveman had the Cowboy breakfast again and I had my own version of it. We did lots of swimming and Captain Caveman took a video of me from above so I could see my leg movements and where they needed to improve. We had booked to stay just one more night and by lunch time I had worked up an appetite. I had the fresh spring rolls for lunch and Captain Caveman went for the, highly recommended by Veronika, Aussie pie (not on the menu) which was chock full of meat and looked delicious.

It was one week in to June and I still hadn’t been home yet – Ben, Bich and Veronika were really looking after me so much I didn’t want to leave. After more swimming in the afternoon and chilling out it was time for our last dinner at Little Lies. Veronika joined us for a glass of wine but had already eaten a late lunch at The Villas so wasn’t hungry. We were joined by Leah and David the yoga teachers who were nearing the end of their stay too. I had the beef in bamboo dish, which I was very partial to while Captain Caveman had a dish I had overlooked, pork clay pot! I only managed the one glass of red wine and felt I’d had enough – I’d grown very fond of the sparkling wine and had missed it this evening. We said our farewell to our guests and got ready for a good sleep, I only had one complaint about that bed – it being too difficult to get out of in a morning! It was definitely the comfiest bed that I had experienced in Vietnam and I would definitely miss the luxury and 5 star service.

Photo credits Ben Mitchell, Captain Caveman & Caroline Borrow

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Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 6

Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 6

By Saturday 6th June I had been away from Phong Nha village and our house for almost a week and was enjoying my rest and relaxation at Little Lies pool villa, part of the newly opened Jungalo Collection at Phong Nha Farmstay. I was feeling like the luckiest person in the world right now and to be able to have daily baths and no stairs to tackle was making my life so much easier. I met Veronika for breakfast and she remarked I seemed to be getting a bit more confident on the walk to the main pool and restaurant area, which was promising. My crutches were getting a little worn out though and my underarms were starting to hurt from lack of padding. There were a few of us at the table for breakfast and I was about to go back up to start my swimming and exercising when I got messages from Caroline and Momma D to say they were coming over to see me. Rather than take the time to walk back to the villa to come back again to eat lunch I decided to stay sat where I was and then we could order food. Shannon and Stu also arrived but Stu decided to leave his wife to it when it turned in to a ladies lunch. Caroline had brought her new friend, Ha, who was staying in Phong Nha for a month to learn English and I think my Yorkshire accent may have been a bit too much for her. Momma D still hadn’t arrived as she had got held up, in Dong Hoi but arrived a little bit later, as did Veronika, who rejoined for lunch. Caroline ordered some sparkling wine which was very nice. I ordered the smoked duck salad, Caroline had the chicken thighs with rice and veg, and Shannon the Nem Lui. I tried to keep conscious of not drinking too much wine as I needed to be able to walk back to the villa safely and I still hadn’t done my daily aqua exercises or any Turkish language work yet. Shannon had to work later so didn’t drink too much and when Momma D arrived she had just a soda water and brought Caroline a present of tequila coffee – something I had never seen the like before. By this time we were on to a third bottle of wine, a Riesling which we didn’t finish.
After lunch Caroline and Ha escorted me back to the villa (with the wine) where the girls stripped off to there undies and jumped in the pool, it was so hot I did the same (I had black boy shorts and black bra, which looked as good as a bikini), Ha then said she couldn’t swim. Within half an hour Caroline had taught Ha how to swim and they were having a laugh in the pool – we even got on some of Ben’s photos.
At 4pm I spoke to Captain Caveman who had returned from the cave and was off to his gala dinner that night. He would do his best to ask the driver to bring him over to the Farmstay to join me after dinner, then stay over. Veronika and I enjoyed another pleasant evening, I had the duck a l’orange again and we, of course, enjoyed more fizz. Captain Caveman returned at almost bedtime and I had a glass of the Riesling (left in the fridge after lunch). I think Captain Caveman was hoping I would be miraculously walking again but I could only crutch about, still the pain was definitely lessening.

Photo credit – Ben Mitchell & Captain Caveman

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Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 5

Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 5

I woke up in the early hours of Friday 5th June with indegestion and a bad stomach caused by the red wine, I’m sure. I eventually went back to sleep and didn’t wake up until 7:45am. I decided to have breakfast at the poolside of Little Lies and kept to fruit and yogurt. I did some swimming and exercises and then had a meeting which I attended in my swimwear!
For lunch I had bun cha and diet coke and then did a bit of Turkish and some writing by the pool. I had another swim in the afternoon and was going to have a nap but never had the time.

That evening Veronika and I dined alfresco again with a bottle of fizz between us and a very tasty but healthy chicken dish. We had a video call from our friend and housemate Chrissy who was doing well, with Watto, back in Yorkshire. I’d really got used to the private villa lifestyle and the time had gone so fast, that night was my 5th night’s stay! Tomorrow Captain Caveman was due back from Hang Son Doong and my stay at Phong Nha Farmstay was nearing it’s end. I was already plotting my return stay and was secretly hoping I could manage to make it a regular holiday within a holiday for me, especially while I was recuperating.

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Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 4

Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 4

I woke up at 5.15am on Thursday 4th June but I didn’t get out of that super comfy bed at Little Lies until gone 7:30am. I was escorted to breakfast by Veronika where I had a lovely pho ga and we were joined by a member of the yoga class.
I spent all morning swimming and exercising in the pool, did a spot of Turkish lesson and generally enjoyed the surroundings. The staff were looking after me; from keeping the pool clean and garden plants watered, bringing me fresh water and food to cleaning the villa – all the staff were lovely.

I had fried spring rolls and ginger beer for lunch and rested with my leg up – my ankle was very swelled compared to that morning, so I didn’t want to overdo it!!

For dinner Veronika joined me and we enjoyed the evening sat at the dining table by the pool. I had the beef in bamboo, Veronika an Aussie pie for dinner and we had some red wine, but stuck to the one glass. Since my accident I hadn’t really found that red wine agreed with me that much, maybe it was psychological. I’m not sure where the time was going but before I knew it the night had ended and I was in bed listening to one of the songs to inspire the name of the accommodation in the Jungalo Collection at Phong Nha Farmstay. The room next door was called Gypsy.

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Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 3

Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 3

I found out on Wednesday 3rd June that I wasn’t the only cripple in the village! I had slept with the curtains open and woke up at 5am in plenty of time to see the sun rising. I even spoke to Captain Caveman before he set off on his Son Doong tour that morning. Veronika came over to Little Lies to accompany me on my walk to breakfast. I had the phone numbers of reception and kitchen/bar staff so there was no need to leave the pool villa for anything but it was good exercise to walk to the main pool and dining area of the Phong Nha Farmstay. Veronika is definitely a natural carer and walked at the same pace as me, offering support, encouragement and patience where needed – I was very slow and a little nervous of falling on her. We had a lovely, very leisurely breakfast where I enjoyed the pho ga, orange juice and green tea. I’d not seen so many people in a while and it was nice to be joined at the big table by some of the yoga/meditation bunch for a bit of chit chat. We were still there when school finished for the morning for Ben & Bich’s youngest, and then something incredible happened. Ben arrived closely followed by not one, but two men, both on crutches and injured legs! Multi had suffered with a bad knee after a motorbike accident and Steve had broken his foot jumping on to the deck of a boat at Monkey Island, Cat Ba. Bich informed us the government had some spare cash for disabled people at the moment and that we should apply for funds – injury comparison discussions and photo taking ensued. Multi gave me a recommendation for a good physio who had managed to get him moving again and I decided I would go to see her next week.

Ben and the gang were off to the Pub with Cold Beer for some farm to table chicken with peanut sauce for lunch and I got invited along. Check out this video made by guests at Phong Nha Farmstay:

I really wanted to go but I had to stay focused on why I was checked in to this marvellous retreat in the first place. Rehab had to be my priority so I decided to get back to the pool villa for some swimming and exercises. Veronika kindly walked back with me and we planned to meet up later, there was talk of some sparkling wine joining us too. I did lots of pool exercises which freed up my knee a bit but my ankle then started to hurt more, I practiced walking across the width of the pool but could only manage 2 widths. I sat by the pool while doing some writing and learning Turkish then ordered some fresh spring rolls for lunch. I needed to take photos of the place but I was struggling to get good enough ones because of crutching and navigating about with a phone stuffed in my swimmers or bumbag! In the afternoon another milestone was reached, I had swam the most so far and then managed to have a short stint of a stand up shower (in the concrete bath) and I was so excited.

I chilled out until before sunset and then Veronika and I had a dinner which I could only have dreamed of a few weeks ago. Duck a l’orange and champagne (well, a fine Australian fizz to be precise) both went down very nicely. Veronika and I swapped stories and spoke of travels and funny encounters we had had. By the time Bich and her youngest popped over Veronika and I were very happy and relaxed. It was nice to be merry on half a bottle of fizz these days and I was in bed fast asleep by 10pm.

Photo credit Bich Le

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Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 2

Phong Nha Farmstay – Day 2

I woke up from an amazing sleep and had already missed the daily meditation session at the Phong Nha Farmstay on Tuesday 2nd June. I was looking forward to pho ga for breakfast and so we walked down to the bar and pool area to eat. I wasn’t confident on a certain section of the path where there was the slope but I managed to get down without falling, which was a bonus. I had to drink lots of water once we got seated as I hadn’t been used to walking far outside, for so long. I also had green tea and a juice, Captain Caveman decided to upgrade and treat himself to the Big Cowboy Breakfast with coffee and juice – worth paying the extra for if you’re hungry! We got chatting with the owners, Ben & Bich, it turned out the pool villa we had spent last night in was available for longer and we were welcome to book in for another night or more if we fancied it. I already didn’t want to leave and because it was newly opened we were able to take advantage of the soft opening special rates! We found out the story behind the books on the shelves and it made us laugh – be sure to ask Ben about it when you visit and check out the link below:

Great Books and Movies about Vietnam

Captain Caveman was off to do his briefing that evening and going to Son Doong the next day so wouldn’t be able to stay but we all agreed that the exercise, swimming and interaction with others would be good for me and I agreed to stay on for a bit longer. I ate a great bun cha for lunch while Captain Caveman snaffled down another pizza (he chose a different flavour for variety). Once Captain Caveman and I had said our goodbyes I took full advantage of that private pool. I had no time for writing, learning Turkish, Netflix or reading a book – I was working on getting my leg moving!

Little Lies came into its own that evening for a spot of entertaining. Not only did I enjoy a lovely dinner with a drop of red wine but I was joined by Veronika who is always such great company with genuinely good conversation. Other expats in the area stopped by to say hi too and it was nice to catch up with Ben, Bich and the kids later too where I found out I’m rubbish at making paper aeroplanes.
We went steady on the wine and before I went to bed I spoke to Captain Caveman to update him that I had managed a lot more exercise and that I could now pretend to ride a bicycle in the pool. He looked sweaty and tired but not enough for me to feel too sorry for him as I knew he was really looking forward to getting back on tour. He had a full group and I said I would stay at the Farmstay until he got back, when it would be time to return to the clinic for physio. I got in bed and before I could read a paragraph of my book I had fallen asleep in that huge comfy bed!!

Photo credit Captain Caveman

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Phong Nha – 1st June

Phong Nha – 1st June

Monday 1st June, a new week, a new month and a new place to stay! We were up early, Captain Caveman had a car booked for 9am to take us to Capture café. I was excited to be going out for breakfast and managed the bum shuffle downstairs a little quicker than the last time, while Captain Caveman carried my crutches and bag. They do a great smoothie at Capture so we both ordered one and I stuck to my usual bacon, beans and potatoes while Captain Caveman had beans on toast with two fried eggs, cheese and a swirl of brown sauce (he’s an animal)! The staff were attentive and there was just us there on account of Phong Nha having very few tourists or visitors around. I managed to visit the toilet (after sending Captain Caveman in for a safety check) and crutched around fairly steadily. After breakfast Captain Caveman instructed me to walk to the road to get our lift, I used the big ramp outside and found it easier than stairs. I’d not realised before but Capture café is geared up for people with disabilities like mine.
The car arrived and it was Ben, he was taking us over to Phong Nha Farmstay where we were going to stay the night!

The walk to the poolside of the main building went better than I envisaged and is flat so I was capable of navigating to a comfy seat. The friendly staff brought us a cold lemongrass towel which was so refreshing and a welcome drink, they made sure we had a fan directed at us. We met Mai, the customer relations person, who would be looking after us and showing us to the brand new accommodation at the Phong Nha Farmstay – The Jungalo Collection Villas were now open!

Captain Caveman went to the room, or should I say our pool villa, to drop off bags while I enjoyed a second ginger beer with ice (I know how to live it up). It was very sunny and where we were going to be staying was a short walk for an able person but a tiring one for crutching so I stayed where I was. When I did set off I was very slow and Captain Caveman went on ahead but waited at the very short, but steep, sloping entrance to the path which went to our new home, Little Lies. I struggled a bit, he had to push on my back to stop me falling backwards and I was a sweaty mess by the time we got to the door.

You could be forgiven for thinking the decorator was radically colour blind and that he had borrowed someone else’s paints, at first, but it did have the wow factor. The private pool had non-slip stone edges and integral steps, there was a full size fridge, the high ceilings and outside living area were impressive. The bed and linen were the best I’d encountered in Vietnam and I had to ask Bich (the owner) where it can be bought. There were fresh flowers on the dining table, a kitchenette and the bathroom was fantastic. The concrete, non-slip sunken bath was my favourite thing in there and ideal for my injuries. The internal doors are wonderfully carved as well as great at keeping out noise and light but Captain Caveman favoured the book collection the most.

We had a swim and then ordered lunch which is brought by the lovely kitchen and bar staff, directly to the dining table in the villa. I had the spring rolls which were good quality while Captain Caveman enjoyed his sausage baguette (hot dog to us lot) and chips. We had lots of water already in the fridge, with chilled glasses and it’s reassuring to see that plastic bottles are a no-no in this establishment. From the outside of the pool villas there is a monster set of limestone junk boat sails which could be interpreted as a set of dragon wings or maybe even butterfly wings from a distance – an ideal Instagram spot just begging for the opportunity to be hashtagged!

There was lots of use of the pool, chatting to visitors and then our friend, Veronika, joined us before sunset so we could have a drop of wine and some food. I found the villa so easy to get around and the food was top notch. I’d not even gone to bed but I knew already this was going to be the best place to stay in Phong Nha. After dining by our private pool on Nem Lui for me, pizza for Captain Caveman and an Aussie pie for Veronika we were stuffed and retired to our rooms. I’m not saying the bed is big but I had to put my glasses back on so I could see Captain Caveman at the other side of it as we finished wine in bed.

Photo credit to Captain Caveman and Ben Mitchell for use of some of their photos

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Phong Nha – A Food Lover’s Delight

Phong Nha –  A Food Lover’s Delight

There are so many places to eat in Phong Nha now that when I leave here I find my choices much more limited. I have a few allergies (gluten, mollusks & chillies) plus I’m a fussy eater, who really can’t stomach quite a few foods, which makes me a less than ideal dinner date. I’m far from thin and never go hungry here in Phong Nha so I decided to write a list of the places we have eaten at and what their stand out dish is (including Captain Caveman’s favourites too).

1. Namaste – Lamb Samosa

2. East Hill – Chicken & sticky rice

3. Phong Nha Underground – Tamarind chicken

4. Vung Hue – Pork Ribs

5. Phong Nha Vegan – Mushroom Lalot

6. Little Leaf – scallops

7. Little Vietnam – Pho

8. Funny Monkeys – Pork fried rice

9. Co Diep – Hot pot

10. Momma D’s – Sausages

11. Capture Café – Cheese plate

12. Phong Nha Coffee Station – Eggs Benedict

13. Oxalis Home – Chicken & cashew nuts

14. You & Me – Chicken fried rice

15. The Villas – Confit Duck Leg

16. D’Arts – Bun Cha

17. Lake House – Pizza

18. Lucky Homes – Roast Pork with fried rice

19. Phong Nha Farmstay – Nem Lui

20. Veggie Box – Vegan soup

21. Coco House – Clay pots

22. Bamboo Cafe – Shepherd’s pie

23. Chao Vietnam – Fried spring rolls

24. Thang Nhung – BBQ pork

25. Banh Xeo (at the market) – Banh Xeo

26. Pub with Cold Beer – Chicken & peanut sauce

27. Moi Moi – Pork cooked in Bamboo

28. Gecko hostel – Western food

29. Chay Lap Farmstay – Mushroom curry

30. Nguyen Shack Lake Hill – Mango sticky rice

Phong Nha – the end of staying in!

Phong Nha – the end of staying in!

I know for a lot of us May had seemed like a long month but on the whole I like to try and stay positive. At the end of May I did a bit of a check on what had changed over the month and I started to make some plans for June. To be honest I still didn’t know where I would be at the end of June, but if it was still in Phong Nha then I needed to make some changes and get my leg better.
I think I had lost weight in May but it was impossible to tell without being able to stand on the scales at Ho Khanh’s. This blog was doing well, which astounded me given that most of last month was about staying at home with an injured leg and arguing with Captain Caveman. I can only imagine that was one good thing to come out of the extended lockdown in other countries – lots of people could identify with being cooped up with a partner and unable to go out. This last 6 weeks had shown me how Captain Caveman’s priorities work and his ‘tough love’ approach to helping me get better was not particularly making me recover quicker. We spend so much time apart usually and when we are together we do our own thing a lot so it was definitely getting to him and I was tired. Still, at least my blog was entertaining enough for people who empathised with me or sympathised with Captain Caveman as we went through the month. The highest views came from the UK and Vietnam then Australia, followed by Turkey and then the Netherlands. This month I had a few new countries reading – Finland, Cape Verde, Bahrain and Panama.
As for the dreadful Corona virus which had been around for about 6 months now and almost in Vietnam, it was hard to take in the severity of it in my home country. I should have been back to Turkey and to England by now, like everyone else I’d missed lots of events but was pleased most had been moved to 2021. At the beginning of May the UK had reported 177,000 cases and were 4th in the world rankings. By the end of May they had reported 274,700 cases and were in 5th place, thanks to Brazil. It was awful that another 100,000 people had caught the virus, given that people should have been taking precautions and staying at home. The Corona deaths in the UK were unbelievable at almost a further 11,000 in one month taking it from 27,500 to 38,400 and still ranking second in the world. I was appalled at how badly it was being handled and I worried a lot about my family and friends – particularly the vulnerable ones, those working on frontline and those having essential hospital treatment.
For June I was focusing on physio and with Captain Caveman going in to Son Doong for 4 tours this coming month he was going to be much happier – I’m sure I would also enjoy the rest too. To start the month Captain Caveman had organised a little break, hoping to boost my recovery.

He’d even packed my bag for me, filled with all the essentials:

What’s in the bag? 35 items packed by Captain Caveman

What’s in the bag?  35 items packed by Captain Caveman

At the moment I’m rather immobile I am not the quickest at being able to pack a bag. In fact I can’t carry anything from the wardrobe and drawers to the bed, a short distance away. So it was up to Captain Caveman to pack for me for any outings and here is what was in my bag:

1. Sunglasses
2. Contact lenses
3. Hairbrush
4. Underwear
5. Travel towel
6. Swimwear
7. Toothbrush
8. Toothpaste
9. Shampoo bar
10. Conditioner bar
11. Body wash bar
12. Suncream
13. After sun lotion
14. Nail clippers
15. Foot file
16. Nail file
17. 2 dresses
18. 1 pair of shorts
19. 3 t-shirts/tops
20. Comfy shoes
21. Sarong
22. Trousers
23. Socks
24. Mosquito repellent
25. Sun hat
26. Sleepwear
27. Phone charger
28. Book
29. Crossword puzzles
30. Moisturiser for feet
31. Diary
32. Notebook and pen
33. Medications
34. Bumbag
35. Headphones