Dalyan – 5th October

Dalyan – 5th October

When the social media issue was fixed on Tuesday 5th October it was a relief and I had a message from Melissa to say she had some ice-cream left to give me, as I was sending her a message to say I had a dress which was too big for me and perhaps it would be suitable as a maternity dress for her. I went over to her place and we said goodbyes again as they headed off to see more of Turkey, it felt a little strange that almost a year ago we had spent a few days together during the floods of Phong Nha 2020, watching Harry Potter together at Elements Collection, it was also pretty cool that the first people to come to visit me in Dalyan were friends we had met in Vietnam! My next stop was the bank where I transferred quite a bit of money to Captain Caveman’s Turkish bank account to be able to pay for the bills here, I did this a bit prematurely it would turn out, as I didn’t realise there was a limit to how much I could get my hands on before my account maturity in about 3 weeks time. I finally got my internet banking set up for my Turkish accounts, which felt good and I decided to treat myself to an English breakfast at Lukka bar, I’d been here almost 2 weeks and not had one yet – I do miss a good breakfast and wouldn’t be able to resist or wait until I got to England again, after just over 3 years of being away. The breakfast consisted of bacon, sausage, beans, toast, butter, and mushrooms for me, as I don’t eat egg or tomato on my breakfast, I had 2 orange juices and 2 teas and it was really good. I met a friend of Katrina’s, who was hilarious and he gave me some good physiotherapist recommendations, he also was a fan of shockwave therapy which had cured his leg after a bad accident. Sonuç arrived for more paperwork and preparation for the forthcoming residency application and he made a phone call to Hüseyin, the translator, and the notary office. Before I knew it, we were booked to go to Ortaca notary tomorrow, which would be another step closer to the process of being able to stay here longer than 90 days, if they agree.
My lunch with Leanne and my neighbours got cancelled as Leanne wasn’t well and I decided to get some much needed products from Katrina’s shop, Maizie Moo, instead.
The shop is really lovely and the products are all made with natural ingredients where I picked out whipped body butter, a hair mask, a sponge which is like magic, mosquito spray and I also got a few more free samples of foot balm, face scrub and a shower/bath bomb type of product. All of it smells like you could eat it and the products I had already tried had really done wonders for my eczema, so much so that I had now stopped using the steroid cream from the pharmacy and was using only the Maizie Moo butter. I spent a total of 300 lira (£25) and got a handmade bag which looked like someone had bought me a gift, it felt wonderful being able to get something nice for myself as a treat.

At 2pm I went for my 60 minute full body massage at BC Spa which was so lovely, the guy who did my massage, Ramazan, was very careful around my injuries too, which I was pleased about. Interestingly, when he touched the left shoulder where the scar from my cyst was it felt sore and it was obvious that there was a bit more of a problem with the cyst regrowing than I realised.
Back home I felt very sleepy after the massage and I watched more Line of Duty, then made my leftover Sunday roast dinner and had some of the rather lovely red wine with it. I polished off the ice-cream from the Wiringi family and as I was washing up I realised that the origami bird, which Aaliyah had made for me in Hoi An, Vietnam, was on the shelf next to me. I’d had it in my purse all this time and taken it out to put on display, then forgot to let Aaliyah know it had travelled with me to Turkey. Before bed I got an invite for tomorrow night which I would find difficult to turn down and it was, quite literally, right up my street.

Hoi An and Danang – 23rd April

Hoi An and Danang – 23rd April

It was incredibly hot in Hoi An on Friday 23rd April and I was sad to be leaving Caroline’s and Hoi An this afternoon. Before I went back to Danang, Caroline took me on her motorbike to the Roving Chill House for breakfast. It was situated in the rice fields so was looking really pretty and, to be on the safe side, I had a fruit plate and a peach tea for breakfast. Caroline had avocado and egg on toast and a coffee and she was also planning on a trip to Danang today with Neil. I was impressed that I managed to get on and off the big bike without too much hassle and it was super comfy.
We went home and packed my stuff up before going to meet Melissa at Sounds of Silence, a cute cafe on the beach. It was strange to still see the damage of the floods from last year and there were workmen trying to rebuild the beach side. I had a fresh coconut while looking out over the sea and Aaliyah made me a swan from paper. Caroline and Neil joined us before their bike trip and let Aaliyah have a sit on Caroline’s bike, which she loved. I was meant to meet old friends, Ben and Hilary but their plans in Hoi An changed. I said my goodbyes to Neil, who we hoped to see in Tam Hai next month, and Caroline, who would become Poison_I_Vee tomorrow when she set off on her exciting road trip with Vee, the dog. You can check out her adventures on Instagram here: https://instagram.com/poison_i_vee400cc?igshid=zgu7641ek8n8

I arrived back at Bridges Danang Boutique Hotel on Friday 23rd April for the weekend, to a nice welcome and to check in to a bigger room for not much extra – 550,000vnd per night (£17). I was very impressed with the hotel and my room which, this time, had a sea view and a much bigger bathroom. Captain Caveman would be out of Son Doong later today and had a ticket for the 8pm bus to come to Danang for the weekend. After checking in, putting my washing in to the hotel’s great laundry service and eating some veggie rice and soup from room service I met up with Hamish and Ania.

That afternoon I had another important appointment at the opticians as I had noticed my eyesight was getting worse for distance and my glasses were very worn out. At the opticians they were very thorough and I had good news, my eyes were now both the same prescription (-3.25) and I chose some new glasses, this time I went darker. Unfortunately they would have to post them to me as they wouldn’t be ready before we went back home, but that was fine.
Back at the hotel we got ready and were off to a small BBQ restaurant which Captain Caveman and I had tried and failed to go to before. They only open at weekends and do a limited amount of food which when it’s gone, it’s gone. Hamish had organised it well and we had a big table at Eazy Pickins where I joined him, Ania, Mik, Darran, Kendra, Bryan, and a couple I’d not met before. The food was unbelievably good and we all forced as much down as possible before going for one more drink at Oi Bar. I had a couple of glasses of wine and Hamish got everyone a shot but got told off because we were all too full for shots. It was a great night but Hamish, Ania and I left the others at Oi bar and went back to the hotel. I didn’t want to be hungover when Captain Caveman arrived at stupid o’clock in the morning and my ankle was a bit swelled up from a lot of walking today.

Photo credit – Caroline and Melissa

Hoi An – 22nd April

Hoi An – 22nd April

I had a lovely day in Hoi An on Thursday 22nd April with Caroline. I’d slept much later than I usually do and so our first stop was for breakfast at Rosie’s. We met Neil who had just bought a new motorbike and so they were chatting on about parts and planning a visit to the Harley Davidson shop in Danang. Neil came up with the Poison Ivy song being used as her kind of backing track and he and I sang it while waiting for our breakfast to arrive. It was really hot and sweaty so I probably shouldn’t have gone for the English breakfast, I’d come to regret the choice of sausage later. Caroline had the breakfast burritos which looked good and Neil a salad bowl with extra chicken which was a better choice than mine. Back at Caroline’s we had a much needed dip in the pool which was so lovely, we even had a glass of fizz while we swam. I had a bit of trouble getting out of the pool and ended up having to go backwards because the tiles on the side were too slippy, but she did have steps and a bath mat so all was good.

Caroline had been invited to a friend’s house party for sunset, my stomach wasn’t great after the sausages so I had a little nap and then gave belly rubs to River. Around 7.30pm Caroline came home and we decided to get a taxi to the old town for dinner. I was shocked at how quiet it was as we walked from the main street towards the river front, something I couldn’t have done last time I was here. Caroline suggested we eat at a delightful little place called Cabanon where she introduced me to the chef and owner, Gilles. We decided to have a bottle of fizz and a half baked camembert to share for starters, Caroline also ordered the pâté which I don’t normally eat. We were quite hungry because we had not eaten since breakfast and I’d taken a Gastropulgite prior to dinner to help prevent any stomach problems. The starters were fantastic and I even tried, and enjoyed, some of the pâté. For mains we decided to share our dishes of carbonara and chicken cordon bleu and the food was so good! A man on the next table heard Caroline talk about her forthcoming motorbike ride and went off to buy her a bandana for wearing underneath her helmet to keep her hair good and prevent a sweaty head – how nice of him! Back home we had a nightcap, of more fizz, while singing and dancing to music – I’d had a great time on my last night in Hoi An.

Danang and Hoi An – 21st April

Danang and Hoi An – 21st April

Wednesday 21st April, as it fell this year, was an important day in Vietnam and is considered a holiday day. However with the risks of another wave of Corona there was likely to be more restrictions being put in place than usual. Read more info here:
https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/ttnewsstyle/20210420/vietnamese-flock-to-festival-shrug-off-outbreak-risk/60474.html
Our last breakfast together was at Pho Thin again because we all enjoyed the pho there so much and it would be the last meal with Tatas. She had a pick up car coming at 11.30am to shuttle her to the bus to Phong Nha which should get her home for about 6pm that night. We all said how much of a good time we had coming to visit and we hoped to do it again as soon as we could all get dates that would allow it. I also decided I would get a Grab car at the same time as I had plans to go to Hoi An for a couple of days. When the car arrived, Tatas said her goodbyes and got in, only to find it was actually my car – I would have been so annoyed to have been sent back to Phong Nha instead of Tatas! I said farewell until the weekend and off I went to Hoi An to meet a friend for lunch.

I arrived at Veggie Hut in Hoi An at 12.15pm and ordered a pot of jasmine tea while I waited for Melissa and her family to arrive. I decided to have fresh spring rolls and some sweet potatoes, Aaliyah ordered the veggie moussaka with the intention of saving half for dinner and Melissa had the chocolate cherry cake. All the family were looking tanned and healthy and were enjoying living in Hoi An. They were our neighbours back at Elements Collection when they lived in Phong Nha (they even moved in with us during the floods in October 2020 for a couple of days) and they missed the Phong Nha Farmstay and all their friends there. When the food came mine was too spicy as it had something like kimchee in the rolls but Aaliyah ate all of her food because she really enjoyed it. Elijah and Rimaha shared a Snickers ice-cream dessert which looked really good. It was really good to see them and have a good chat about all the stuff they had been doing since moving here. The lunch meet up went quick and, because my Grab app no longer works, I asked for the staff to call me a taxi for my next appointment.

My taxi driver dropped me outside Citrus Spa in Hoi An where I had booked in for some waxing. I’d been to this salon before and knew they were good so had booked in for the works! I also fancied a bit of reflexology which I hoped to fit in at the end. I’d arranged to meet Caroline, who had kindly invited me to stay at her place in An Bang, Hoi An. When I came downstairs from having my waxing done, this time no need to bum shuffle, she was already in having a full body massage, which meant I had time for my foot massage. It was fantastic and I felt so relaxed after it that I could have had a snooze but there was not enough time. Caroline and I had a hug and paid our bills, I was surprised to get a big discount and paid less than 800,000vnd (£25) for everything.

Next we went to Hill Station in Hoi An for a cheeky prosecco and a selection of cheeses with some bread and gluten free crackers – it was delightful! After the Hill Station we decided to go to the wine shop to pick up a few bottles so we could go back to Caroline’s place and have a night in with the pets, who I was also looking forward to seeing, and a good natter. We got the prosecco open and had a really good chat, I was pleased I’d decided to stay at Caroline’s as we did have a good laugh and it was nice to just chill out and eat some gluten free crisps and salsa dip. We also reinvented beer koozies (insulated beer cooler holders) by fashioning them to fit our wine glasses so that we didn’t have to be philistines by putting ice in our wine!
My bedroom was really lovely and comfortable with an ensuite, balcony and a sliding door to the pool so I had a great sleep that night!

Danang & Hoi An – 20th April

Danang & Hoi An – 20th April

As Tatas was only here for a short time, we decided we should make the most of it on Tuesday 20th April and our friends had great recommendations for us. Captain Caveman had returned from Son Doong yesterday but gone back in today and I’d not had chance to speak to him before his next tour. Today the plan was to have a relaxing day at Hoi An Silk Beach Club with Tatas, who was also working while next to the pool. Transport is so much cheaper in Danang than in Phong Nha and was only 200,000vnd (£6.20) from Danang to Hoi An, about 45 minutes away. When we arrived we were the only people there and so we had the pool to ourselves. I was so hungover that I ordered a can of Fanta and some french fries for brunch and I’d forgotten my swimmers. As there was no one around I went swimming in my undies and was able to hoist myself out of the pool relatively ok, but not gracefully.

Once back at Bridges Danang Boutique Hotel we had a shower and change before we went off for a full body massage at Herbal Spa which Kendra had also recommended. The 90 minute aromatherapy full body massage was looking like the best deal for what I wanted and I asked them to concentrate more on my shoulders and feet and they also asked about injuries and pressure which was great as usually massages in Vietnam are brutally strong. There was a special offer on of 150,000vnd (£4.65) for 60 minutes or 240,000vnd (£7.44) for 90 minutes including hot stones if you wanted them (I opted for it without). It was very relaxing and so professional, one of the best massages I’ve ever had and we even got a cute outfit to wear to protect modesty – what a lovely treat!
After the massage we were given free soup, herbal tea and coconut crackers, which you could also buy and were gluten free. I was so relaxed that I felt like going back to the hotel to go to bed but we had plans for Tatas’ last night of her mini-break. I made a note to self that I definitely would be staying off the alcohol tonight though!

After the 3rd shower of the day at the hotel, we were off out for dinner. It was Tatas’ last night so she got to choose where she would like to eat. We arrived at The Nomad Kitchen in An Thuong and ordered some drinks while looking at the menu. It was a shame that I’d decided not to drink as they had some decent wine for a good price.
For my dinner I had the fish and chips with homemade tartare sauce for 110,000vnd (£3.40) and it was absolutely amazing. Tatas had a buffalo dinner, while the rest of the table had dishes which included a side order of buffalo, bacon croquettes, and falafel salad. The food was really good and Daniel, the chef, is incredibly skilled. When a couple of us ordered the white chocolate tart for dessert I asked if I could have an extra price of fish for my pudding instead, it was that good and even came with extra vinegar. I could only drink sparkling water as I was honestly begging for mercy, I needed to remember I am much older than all of these party animals! Tonight I remembered that the AC needs to be turned on again after taking out the key card and I settled down for a relatively early night about 11.30pm, while Tatas carried on her night at Oi bar, Emma’s and Shamerock. Tomorrow Tatas and I would be checking out of this lovely hotel but only she was off back to Phong Nha – I had more adventures planned!