Having been up most of the night with scared Charlie, the dog, because of the New Year’s Eve fireworks I was tired but hangover free on Saturday 1st January. I made a Slimming World friendly pizza with leftover salami and cheddar for lunch and decided to try the Slow Cooker mushroom risotto for dinner. I had a nice leisurely dog walk and then arranged to meet Jamie and Ann at Waterfall for a couple of drinks. The dogs love it there and they get to see Skippy, the dog, too. Unfortunately we were there a tad longer than planned and my risotto was overcooked. I popped it in a tupperware thinking I’d salvage it another day but I ate a small soggy portion of it for dinner. I filled up with left over Christmas cake and some cheese, which meant the diet was out of the window, once again! Captain Caveman had left Saigon and was heading back to Phong Nha, moving back in to the Glass House and getting prepared to start work again.
On Monday 2nd January it was the end of my Christmas holidays and so I intended to get back on with working for a living. Things were tight money-wise as the inflation in Turkey continued to rise and prices of shopping was increasing by up to 35%. Ann posted a job advert on Facebook so I decided to apply and then I made a shopping list. At the top was a diary, I really needed one to get organised as January, for me, is a busy month. I had strawberries for breakfast, the ones I had bought a week ago at Köyceğiz market and had cut them and put them in a glass jar to keep them fresher for longer. I was on my laptop editing documents but Charlie didn’t want me to, because he needed more belly rubs. I had pasta bolognese for lunch then soup and a wrap for a snack later. After a nice afternoon dog walk Charlie was insistent we went to Waterfall bar again, he was starting to find it impossible to go past without calling in to say ‘Hi’ to the locals. I met up with Mark and Kate who were on their way home from town and we had a jacket potato, courtesy of Mehmet. I left after 3 wines but, at 11pm, I’d had another glass of wine at home and more pasta bolognese before snuggles with Charlie.
My Vietnam stay had come to an end on Friday 26th August. I had spent 11.5 weeks in the same country as Captain Caveman and was very happy about that. I was also very much looking forward to us both being in Turkey for the winter. I was hoping to see Captain Caveman reconnect with family and friends, meet my new friends and generally have a well-deserved break from Phong Nha and Oxalis for 4 months! I did my measurements first thing and these were my results; Bust +2cm, Waist -2cm, Hips -1cm, Right thigh no change, Left thigh +0.5cm, Right calf +0.5cm, Left calf +1cm. Looking back over the last 6 weeks my body measurements showed a decrease but my legs had increased. I was going to have to watch my weight once I got back to Turkey as I had no idea what I weighed these days. I had to repack my big suitcase to fit the whisky in from Mr H, so I removed teabags, flea drops and Vegemite plus a jumper and a coat of Captain Caveman’s. I put them in a bag with some remaining Vietnamese money in an envelope and left it at reception when I checked out. Captain Caveman would check in on Monday and could pick up the bag and the contents.
I met Beth at Lubu for lunch and was a little concerned about the weather. We had not gone ahead with going across town for croissants in case we got stuck but we were sure I could walk in rain from Lubu if the streets flooded. I put my shower shoes in my bag just in case that were to happen and I booked a car to the airport with the hotel for 4.15pm, I was taking no chances this time. The Lubu lunch special is so good that I had it again, for 295,000vnd (less than £12) it is fantastic. This time we added on a glass of wine to celebrate Beth and I’s reunion, and our leaving. I had the roasted vegetable bruschetta starter and the steak again, Beth had the green salad then the Mahi Mahi skewers followed by the panna cotta but I could only just manage the fruit and yoghurt for my dessert. After lunch the heavens opened and it looked like the afternoon rain might cause me an issue getting to the airport. I tried to get a Grab taxi from Lubu to The Common Inn (where my luggage remained) earlier than planned but struggled. After saying bye to Beth and Jay I only just made it back to the hotel by 4pm.
I picked up my luggage and thanked the staff for looking after me before getting in the car to the airport. The driver had arrived early because of the rain, carried my cases, put them in the boot the right way round and only charged me 215,000vnd on the meter in a huge rain storm. I gave him 250,000vnd and reaffirmed to myself that I was definitely right to have reported the taxi driver who tried to charge me more but took 330,000vnd on Wednesday. I was very lucky because in Hanoi, the other airport I could have been flying from, the roads were flooded and flights were getting cancelled due to stormy weather. My check-in for my first flight to Singapore opened at 16.40 and I managed to be bang on 25kg with the hold luggage, they didn’t weigh the hand luggage (luckily). I had a bit of cash left and was hoping for a beer at the airport once I was through to departures. They were charging 138,000vnd (£5.11)for a medium sized draft beer (outrageous for Vietnamese prices) but I only had 132,000vnd (£4.88) and asked for a small one. The cashier said they didn’t have small ones so I was about to walk away when she gave me the bigger size for 132,000vnd. That was kind and it tasted even better in the ice cold glass too. I already had a middle seat on the plane and couldn’t change it but at least it was only 2 hours to Singapore. I started watching the ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ film without realising I would have landed before the film finished. I found it boring, totally predictable and even tedious so when I didn’t get to see the end I wasn’t bothered. I’d had the good idea of ordering a gluten free meal with Singapore Airlines so I got my beef stew with pumpkin, potatoes and spinach first and the gluten free bread roll wasn’t bad. I landed in Singapore just before 11pm, with just 3 hours until my next flight. I decided against a lounge as we would be boarding in 2 hours. Instead, I sat and updated my diary and messaged Captain Caveman to let him know I had successfully left Vietnam.
I had kept some of my last full day in Saigon free on Thursday 25th August. There had been no further contact about the taxi driver but I decided to be extra cautious when leaving the hotel, and not to order Grab taxis in case he picked up the job. I asked the receptionist if I could get a photo of the security camera footage with the 3 guys waiting for me in reception, just in case it was needed. I got food from the Microboulangerie next door and the important meeting I had missed yesterday was rescheduled to lunchtime today. One of the places I really like to eat at, in Thao Dien, is Lubu, which just so happens to have Beth’s son, Jay, as the new manager. I chose this to meet Mr H, a friend of Captain Caveman’s, for the first time. There were 3 of us sat at a central table in the light an airy restaurant. We enjoyed a delicious 3 course lunch each; the green salad starter was lovely and the roasted vegetable bruschetta looked good. I loved the steak and chips while Mr H had the healthier option of fish skewers. There was a choice of panna cotta or fruit with yoghurt for dessert. The lunchtime set menu is great and comes with tea or coffee so I still had a pot of green tea when my fellow diners had to leave to get back to work. One of our discussions had lead on to whether Captain Caveman and I liked whisky. We do and I was asked if I would like to try one of 2 bottles. I chose the one I had not had before and it was for me to take back to Turkey – it would be delivered this afternoon which was very kind of Mr H. I got a taxi back to the hotel and was busy on my laptop all afternoon except for when I got a call from reception to say a gift had arrived for me. I went down to collect the bottle of Craigellachie 17 year old single malt whisky – Captain Caveman and I would look forward to sharing that in Turkey!
In the evening Beth and I shared a taxi to Bandido’s, a Mexican restaurant in District 1. They had amazing Margaritas which we ordered a couple of while we waited for everyone else to come. We were lucky because we had arrived just before the heavy rain but Andrea got caught in it, who was next to arrive and insisted on jugs of margaritas – a great idea. Next to arrive was Quyen, Trang was a little later and Hoai had to message to say she would have to wait for the rain to pass. The rest of us ordered food and it was very tasty, the service was good and I particularly enjoyed the pork tacos. We weren’t planning on a late night because Andrea, Quyen, Trang and Hoai all had work in the morning but someone (possibly me) suggested we go for one more drink in Thao Dien. Quyen lives near to the Mexican restaurant so we said bye and she walked home. Trang and Hoai set off on their individual motorbikes and the remaining 3 of us got a taxi. We arrived at Soho wine bar and had some very nice wine. Andrea walked home but then Trang took Beth, and Hoai took me home. As we rode through the empty streets of Saigon it started to rain. Back at the hotel I was a little sad that I was leaving Vietnam tomorrow especially as I didn’t know exactly when I would be back again.
I really did not want to get up so early on Wednesday 24th August but Captain Caveman had booked the Oxalis car pick up for 6.30am. I didn’t have to check-in for my domestic flight until 8.30am but we had decided that breakfast at Mr Bull’s would be a good way to send me off. Dung, our nice driver, was early and we got in the car. Captain Caveman had to carry my big suitcase as I couldn’t lift it. We had our usual Bo Ne at Mr Bull’s, mine without eggs, and I really enjoyed it. Captain Caveman had time for us to pop to the WinMart for him to pick up some essentials and I got some mints for the journey. Captain Caveman came with me to Dong Hoi airport and we got checked in straight away for my 9.30am flight to Ho Chi Minh (aka Saigon). I was flying with Vietnam Airlines, I had an aisle seat and was due to land at 11.10am. We said goodbye and I had a few tears, mainly through tiredness I suspect. I was looking forward to landing as I would have time to check-in to the hotel and get ready to meet friends for dinner tonight. The flight went smoothly but I wasn’t prepared for the absolute fiasco that was about to happen once I arrived in Saigon!
I landed at the domestic terminal of Ho Chi Minh airport, before midday. There were no taxis outside so I decided to walk to the international terminal where I knew there would be. I’d already been forewarned to make sure I only get in to the My Linh or Vina Sun taxis as they are the official ones. I’d read on social media about the potential for scams so I was alert to making sure I didn’t fall foul of this. As I approached the taxi queue there were 2 women who were taking the locations and hailing the cabs for customers, they wore lanyards round there neck and one of them was very efficient in getting me a taxi. I checked the car that had pulled up and asked her how much it was to Thao Dien. She said it was metered but I should check with the driver, which I did and he said he didn’t know but it was metered . They put my 25kg suitcase in the boot as I took my hand luggage from the trolley and pushed it out of the way. What I hadn’t noticed was that the car I was about to get in was not a My Linh or Vina Sun. The car had pulled up alongside the taxi I thought I was getting in and the driver told me to get in the front seat. I declined and I got in the back where I noticed the car wasn’t as neat and tidy as it should have been. The driver asked me for 10,000vnd (£) for the toll to get out of the airport, this is normal but I said I would pay at the end and took the ticket for 9,000vnd. I didn’t realise it at the time but it had his car registration number on it, which would prove to come in very handy. The driver asked if he could take me to an ATM to get more money out, that’s when I noticed that the meter was reading higher than it should. As we drove the meter was whizzing round far too quickly so I decided to call Captain Caveman, he didn’t pick up. I called the hotel and asked them how much the fare should be and to advise I was on my way. The receptionist was very helpful and told me that it should be half what it was already and suggested I might want to get out. I couldn’t because I was on a multi lane dual carriageway, I decided to continue the remaining 16 minute journey but asked the receptionist to meet me outside the hotel when I arrived. When we arrived there was a lot of discussion between the two in Vietnamese and the driver blocked me from getting my suitcases out of the boot. They had been put in very awkwardly with both handles away from the open area so I really had to push to get them out. The receptionist was confused and told the driver it should be a maximum of 250,000vnd but after more discussion he said he would accept 325,000vnd instead of the 2.6 million on the meter. By this point I already knew I would be reporting him to either the police or the airport so I paid with a 500,000vnd note which he only gave me 170,000vnd back because he said he had no 5,000vnd note. We got inside the hotel and I thanked the receptionist for coming to my aid, she was shocked at the driver’s behaviour. I checked in, went to my room and called Captain Caveman. That taxi driver had really cheesed me off by thinking he could take advantage of what looked like an older western woman who had, seemingly, just arrived in Vietnam. Captain Caveman has very good connections so I knew he would have the number of someone who would be able to do something to stop this driver ripping off tourists again!
My taxi incident had taken up so much of my time that I missed an important email inviting me to a meeting. Instead, I got a snack from the bakery next door for lunch and then tried to have a nap and forget about the taxi fiasco. That evening I had arranged to meet up with a few Saigon friends at a place called Eddie’s Diner, in District 1. It was a place that Annette had suggested because of her bad knee and it was all on the ground floor. Beth, was staying in Thao Dien, so she got the taxi to me and we were the first to arrive at Eddie’s. Annette came straight after work, Beth and I were already having a cocktail and thinking of sharing a main dish. Keith, from Grimsby, and the 2 Irish girls also joined us and more drinks were had. On a Wednesday Eddie’s has an offer on so 4 of us had the burger which was absolutely delicious. There was lots of chat and laughter but the Irish girls had to leave first because they had their flight home to catch tonight. We all wished them well and it was good to have seen them one last time in Vietnam. After goodbyes to Annette, the remaining 3 of us decided we might go for one more drink on the way home! At this point we were blissfully unaware of the saga that would finish off my evening!
Keith, Beth and I found ourselves in an area of bars somewhere between D1 and Thao Dien. The first bar we went to was Captain Phook, where Keith knew the owners and they had rosé wine on draft. Keith had a beer, Beth and I had the wine and we were chatting when my phone rang. The caller had some news on the taxi driver who had overcharged me earlier. He was being held at the airport and was calling me a liar so I explained my side of the story then went on with my evening. Next, we went to Khoi 89, another recommended one from Keith, where I was pleasantly surprised by their sparkling wine from Moldova. We had a wander down the street, checking out the numerous bars in the area, then walked back to the beginning of the bar street. We passed Truc Mai Music House where a young student was having a lesson on the bamboo xylophone. The 3 of us went closer to listen and ended up in there, having a go ourselves. It was brilliant, however, the highlight was having the teacher play us ‘Jingle Bells’ and she was very talented. We were thinking about heading home when I got a WhatsApp message from the hotel receptionist to tell me that the taxi driver, and his 2 bosses, were at the hotel demanding to speak to me. Apparently, he had been fined 5 million dong (£185.50) for his greediness earlier and wanted to iron out our misunderstanding. I told Beth and Keith who suggested we go back to Khoi 89 and ponder my next move. I called Captain Caveman to let him know and he suggested I didn’t go back to meet them. Beth was all for coming with me and was even on the brink of asking her son to meet us there. I messaged the hotel and told them to inform the driver and his 2 colleagues that I would not be meeting with them. It was already 9.30pm and they were there to intimidate me and it wasn’t appropriate. They said they would wait until I returned because the driver had insisted he had not tried to overcharge me and couldn’t speak English. He was insisting there must be a misunderstanding and they only wanted to talk to me. I did not believe this and insisted the receptionist get rid of them, even tell them I wasn’t coming back if necessary. It took her a while but messaged me to tell me the coast was clear. When I arrived at the hotel there was no sign of the taxi company waiting for me. I got to my room slightly relieved, and still sceptical of their motives for coming to see me, late in an evening. I let Captain Caveman know I was safe, as he had waited up to check I got back ok, and he said he would let his contact know. A less confident woman would have been more scared, I’m sure, so I was even more glad I’d reported him. I did notice that the driver who had tried to say I mistook 2,600,000vnd for 260,000vnd had not come to the hotel, with his colleagues to leave the 70,000vnd he overcharged me ‘by mistake’ and a sorry note! I was very grateful for the support from friends and the hotel in what could have been a bad situation, luckily it all worked out ok in the end.
I was back on track for getting some sleep now and on Wednesday 8th June I woke up feeling almost human again. Storms with very heavy rain were forecast for the afternoon and it was our last day in Saigon so Captain Caveman had a plan. He booked a Grab taxi and we went to Lubu for lunch. Almost 7 years ago to the day I met a lady called Beth who I went on an Easy Rider motorbike trip with from Phong Nha to Hue, via Khe Sanh, as a group of 4. She has a son, who we met while he was the manager of Mekong Merchant in Saigon, when we caught up with Beth again a few years ago. Her son, Jay, is now at Lubu, and we happened to see him. Captain Caveman took a terrible photo of me with Jay to send to Beth and he gave us a glass of wine each on the house, which was really nice of him. Captain Caveman and I ordered the lunchtime special which I would definitely recommend. I ordered a green salad starter (get me!), the steak and chips with garlic butter and a pannacotta type dessert. Captain Caveman went for the Gazpacho, chicken schnitzel and ate both of our desserts. This surprised me as he doesn’t ordinarily like sweet stuff and I don’t like the texture of a pannacotta. My complimentary red wine was lovely so Captain Caveman decided we would have a bottle of that. We sat and relaxed while sipping our beverages and discussing plans for when we were back in Phong Nha.
Our next stop was to have a wander in to the Annam Gourmet shop where I wanted to get some treats. They had bottles of Prosecco for 550,000vnd (£19.25) but Captain Caveman wasn’t interested in buying any to take back with us. I spotted the 4 Limited Release Lab Series gins from Lady Trieu too but we didn’t even buy any of that, on account of us not really having enough luggage space. We wandered our way through District 2 and by 3.30pm we were in the pub. I’d already been warned there were no late night bars open in Phong Nha so I was making the most of it. We met Andrea for a couple of ales in Bia Craft (one with an indoor AC section), I accidentally ordered a snack of shredded cheese, not realising it was sprinkled with hot chilli flakes and I had to drink a lot of beer, rather quickly. The snack menu had a Caeser salad on there but I didn’t point out to Captain Caveman that it had egg in it! When Andrea’s colleague and friend, Amarjit, joined us we had one more drink before going out for our last dinner in Saigon.
Captain Caveman and I had chosen Baba’s Kitchen because we love it there and it’s my favourite Indian restaurant in Saigon. The food was lovely, the drinks flowed, I was pretty merry so I forgot to take any decent photos. We also ordered 2 portions of Chicken Jalfrezi and 2 Butter Chickens to take away. It was a lovely last night which Captain Caveman and I finished off in a bar where we discovered a sport I’m good at; shuffleboard. We had several games of it and I am much better at this than pool or darts, maybe we needed to find one in Dalyan for the winter. The storms held off all day and night so I had been lucky to not encounter any rain yet. When we got in, Captain Caveman made sure our curries were in tupperware boxes, sealed properly, in the fridge. They would be packed to take to Phong Nha, tomorrow.
Monday 6th June started off with me being rather crotchety at not having had enough sleep. Captain Caveman had set his alarm for 7am and then turfed me out of bed to get a shower and get ready for the day. I was confused as my watch still said 3am, the blackout curtains fooled me in to thinking it was still night time and, at that moment, I didn’t really care what the plan was. I wanted to stay in bed and go back to sleep but Captain Caveman was insisting we needed a hearty breakfast because today’s activity would require sustenance. All I could think was ‘please don’t let it be an outdoor/adventurous pursuit’! First, we went to a nearby cafe for breakfast where I got to watch Captain Caveman shovel in a plate of my least favourite breakfast items in one meal; avocado, tomatoes and poached eggs with toast. I had Pho Bo (beef noodle soup) with a pot of earl grey tea.
After breakfast we asked a security guard to call us a taxi and we headed to Bach Dang ferry terminal. Captain Caveman had booked arranged for us to go on a gin tasting experience which we were told to meet at 9.30am for – I love a good gin but, crikey! We were early and it transpires we weren’t getting on the ferry anyway. I had a wander about, used the portaloo (which was quite clean and had soap) then saw a statue of Vo Thi Sau, a girl who had fought in the war against the French occupation, more about her here: https://theculturetrip.com/asia/vietnam/articles/vo-thi-sau-the-story-of-vietnams-guerilla-girl/ Captain Caveman’s friend was sending a speedboat to pick us, and a few other select guests, up. I’m not one for speedboats, I was even seasick on one in the Maldives, so I was a bit apprehensive. The others arrived and we all walked across the ferry to get on to the speedboat. We got our life jackets on while Captain Caveman explained to me how these ones with CO² cannisters work. They automatically inflate in water and so, as we sat at the front of the boat, I moved my bag from across my chest in case it inflated by accident and injured me.
We were on the speedboat for quite some time and as we passed District 12, where Captain Caveman had cycled yesterday, we saw a big fire. It turned out that a tyre factory was in flames and was nicely polluting the area. After a total journey of 75 minutes we had arrived at a small area where we could use the facilities and wait for a car. When the car came, the guide expected the 8 of us to get in, but the 4 western fatties amongst us looked at him like he was insane. In no time, one of the guys was on the phone to request a 2nd car. By 11.30am (7.30am on my Turkish watch) we were at the distillery of Lady Trieu gin, having a water and meeting the very talented master distiller.
It was a strange feeling to have been out in Dalyan (Turkey) on Friday night, travelling to Vietnam all weekend, eating Lebanese food in Saigon last night and now it was Monday morning – it didn’t feel real. We liked Adam, the Master Distiller at Lady Trieu, straight away. He was knowledgeable, engaging and funny as he ran through the process of how they make gin here. The downstairs part of the warehouse was super hot for the 8 minutes we were stood listening to Adam. We went upstairs to an AC room which was set up for us to taste the gins in and at 11.46am, Vietnamese time, we were about to find out more and taste the Limited Release gins. The clientele were reminiscent of us being in a corporate meeting but that didn’t stop me trying to smell and taste my way through the gins with much enthusiasm.
For the gin lovers amongst you, here’s the Lady Trieu Limited Release gins we tried, neat: 1. Mekong Delta Dry Gin – has star anise, pepper, kumquat and orange peel flavours. I liked this one and could see me drinking this with a dry ginger ale, as I don’t like tonic. 2. Dalat Flowerbomb Gin – floral with chrysanthemum, jasmine, citrus, lotus and coriander. I didn’t think I’d like this but I did and would definitely buy this one. 3. Sapa Citrus Tea Gin – the oolong tea and pepper flavour was amazing. This became my new favourite of the 3 and I’d fancy this as a martini cocktail, so no need for tonic. 4. Hoi An Spice Road Gin – ginger and black cardamom flavours which was fantastic and would go well with a curry. By the 4th neat gin tasting I was starting to get tiddly and hungry but we still had the newest and best gin to taste. It was also apparent that almost everyone in the room, except for us, were suffering the after effects of a whisky event yesterday. One of the guys had popped out of the room to get himself a coke and a banana. Meanwhile I was getting right into it and my seasickness feeling was back with a vengeance. Lady Trieu, named after the famous warrior, was being sampled and reviewed by 12.20pm, this time I tasted it neat then with the recommended Fever Tree tonic and ice. I loved it.
In my mind it was 8.20am and I was pretty sozzled already as we went in to the next room, which had even more AC on and was where the magic and science happened. There was also a shelf with lots of glass bottles on which Adam, the Master distiller, explained were the ones that didn’t make it in to the final gin. By 1pm we were back downstairs, getting pictures with the rest of the Lady Trieu team and we were honoured to be allowed in the store cupboard to look at, touch and smell the ingredients. By 2.20pm we were in cars and almost back at the speedboat. As is usual for me, Monday madness was only just beginning and we happened to have an extra passenger!
As we got back on to the speedboat at 2.30pm, I foolishly thought we would have a calm ride back and then a taxi back to the apartment where I might get a little nap before whatever shenanigans Captain Caveman had slotted in to the schedule for tonight. We had brought Adam, the Master Distiller, with us and within 2 minutes of departure he was driving the speedboat. While Captain Caveman and I looked on at the impressive speedboat driving skills, the others were sat at the back of the boat drinking bottled water and eating plums. On the 75 minute journey back, anyone who wanted to drive the speedboat down a Saigon river, could. Well, when in Rome! I can now drive a speedboat and I loved it. Captain Caveman could already drive one, obviously – what can’t he do!? Unfortunately I peaked too early and, after the real driver took back control, I had to have a little sit down inside the boat, while the men chatted business. I was so jet lagged, tired and drunk, that I took my Volleys (shoes) off and had a short siesta. When we got off the speedboat Captain Caveman, Adam the gin man and I said bye to everyone else and jumped in a taxi. Captain Caveman had booked a grab to take us to a bar he likes, which I’d never been to before and couldn’t tell you where it was. I found that our new best mate liked Pulp as we blasted ‘Babies’ out and sang along to it. When we arrived at The Orient, I insisted we go in the AC, our friend Andrea, arrived to meet us. Unfortunately Adam, the Master Distiller, couldn’t stay out for more than the one drink and we said our goodbyes and thank yous.
We, on the other hand, managed another beer before going on to a restaurant of Andrea’s choosing where the 3 of us shared 2 bottles of lovely pinot noir red wine and 2 cheese and meat platters. Needless to say, we had an absolutely fantastic first full day together in Vietnam, I don’t recall getting back to the apartment over 12 hours after we left it, but I do remember wondering why all my clothes smelled of blue cheese.
As we were getting ready to land in Singapore on Sunday 5th June at 6am local time (1am Turkish time), it dawned on me that I had been on my way for almost 24 hours, already. I still had not had any sleep and I had a bit of a sea-sickness feeling. I drank lots of water and asked the air stewardess if I needed to pre-book the free tour in Singapore. Unfortunately, she informed me they were no longer available due to Covid restrictions. I now had 12 hours to kill in Changi airport and it was the busiest I had ever seen it. We landed at the same terminal which my next flight was going from so there was no need to worry about going to a lounge anywhere else. I thought I would try to find a place to sleep for a bit first. Masks are still required and are enforced in Singapore so it would be a long and uncomfortable lay over. I got the free WiFi to update people on my journey but there were no quiet seats available anywhere. In fact, it was so noisy everywhere, as if the world had forgotten that headphones for phones existed. I decided to head for the lounge and would be there from 6.50am until 10am, I wasn’t boarding my next flight until 4.30pm so the staff at the lounge said I could book another slot later on if I wanted to, which was nice. By 7am I was having paneer tikka and rice with a Tiger beer and it was lovely, you had to keep putting your mask on and off though, to go up to get drinks and food, which was a bit of a pain but I obviously adhered to the rules. I had another beer, some more food and tried a pasty which I have no idea what the mystery filling was. I had a chicken stew, more curry then tried to get some Prosecco but it was finished because it was breakfast time! I had a couple of vodka and oranges as I was determined to get my money’s worth and then had ham, cheese and salad sandwiches. For afters I had lots of fresh pineapple but then had more bread and some more drinks. I left at 10am, although no one came to kick me out, I was going to have a shower but the queue was long. I decided I wouldn’t book the lounge again for later as I just really needed to get some sleep. The day dragged a lot, I managed to write a couple of lists for my blog which were things I’d miss in Dalyan and things I was looking forward to in Phong Nha. I took the opportunity to rehydrate and pee a lot. I eventually found space in a group of sleeping Indian men and took my chances to make a bed out of 2 chairs, with my hand luggage under my thighs, and my trusty neck pillow from Chung and Uy. I slept for 1 hour and woke up when my ‘neighbours’ became loud. I walked around looking for better places to sit/sleep but none of the places I went for were good enough to get any sleep. I kept checking the boards for flight information and there were no changes to my gate, terminal or flight time and I set an alarm. At 4pm there was an update that my flight was now leaving from a different terminal and I had to take the sky train then walk, quite quickly, through the new terminal to the gate, the furthest away possible. I met a robot hoover on the way and took photos and a video, not realising I was running late. The robot was great as he blinked when people got in his way and I liked him – clearly I was depraved of sleep. I only just made it in time to the gate and then noticed that my seat was a window one when I had requested an aisle. I asked a Singapore Airlines staff member at the water cooler if it was too late to change it and he sorted it out for me. We left at 5.15pm local time and were due to land in Saigon in 2 hours and 10 minutes. On the plane I was so tired I have no idea of the passenger next to me, only to recall the flight was full. I remember having a water and an apple juice with a meal of Singapore noodles which were super tasty. I must have nodded off on the short flight because I woke up to the jolt of us landing at Tan Son Nhat airport at 7pm. It was 3pm in Turkey, I had no WiFi and still had to collect my luggage, find a taxi and get to the apartment in Thao Dien where Captain Caveman would be waiting, hopefully!
I headed for the passport queue and, as is usual, it took quite a while to get to the front. I had to move to a different queue twice as the official at the desk went for a break. I got my stamp in the passport and I remembered to check the date was correct before leaving the passport control section. Next, I waited for my suitcase which arrived wet, slightly damaged but still wheeled. I headed to the exit and was astonished as to how busy the international arrivals section of the airport was. The heat, at almost 8pm, was pretty consuming and I could tell the humidity was high. I booked a taxi, as advised previously by Captain Caveman, which was 380,000vnd (£13.33) and was a bit on the pricey side. I also had to wait quite a while for a car to come and the staff organising it suggested I should share with a Vietnamese bloke in front of me. He was also going to District 2, but if I didn’t share, I would have to wait 30 minutes but, as I’d already paid, I said I wasn’t sharing. Without a working phone I knew that option was likely to be fraught with disaster and the Vietnamese are not known for their sense of direction at the best of times. I got chatting to another westerner in the queue and he was trying to calm me down by kindly explaining how things work with taxis in Vietnam. The taxi was big, comfortable and had lovely Aircon on which made me feel better as we drove for about half an hour to where I would be joining Captain Caveman for the next 4 nights. When I arrived outside Melia River View apartments, there were no signs of life and a barking dog was trying to see me off. I looked for a reception or a staff member but couldn’t find anything, a man came out of the dark and asked if he could help. As I asked which way was room 101, I saw Captain Caveman look out of a window upstairs. He came to get me, and took my cases to the lift, I got in with them but there was no room for him so he did the stairs. When I got to the room it was nice but there was no time for a rest or much else. I had a quick shower, put the cheese and fruit cake in the fridge then Captain Caveman hurried me out. It was already 9pm gone and he was worried we wouldn’t get fed. He had chosen a nearby Lebanese restaurant, called Beirut, and neither of us were quite prepared for the experience. It would be 5pm in Turkey now and we let family and friends know I had arrived after 42 hours of travelling. I was so tired that I seriously could have slept in my soup, had I ordered any. As it turned out, it was a great choice for dinner as it certainly kept me awake. We had Baba Ganoush and hummus with flat bread for starters while 3 belly dancers gave us a show. There were only 2 other couples in the restaurant and we didn’t know where to look as the girls isolated their ribcages and got their boobs shaking. Captain Caveman was more interested in the falafel and chicken liver while I seemed to be hypnotised by belly dancer boobs, as I tried to work out their nationality. It was a pretty tasty meal, the white wine was good and I would definitely eat there again. It was 11.15pm when we left, by this time my sea sickness feeling was taking over and I really needed to go to sleep. As we got in bed, I expected to be having a long lay-in tomorrow, as requested. Unfortunately, Captain Caveman told me that it was no longer the case and we needed to be up early because he had a surprise planned. He set the alarm for 7am!
I woke up with 4 out of 5 cats in, or on, my bed on Wednesday 23rd March. I was hungover and vaguely remembered last night agreeing to leave my door open so the cats could get used to me, ready for the cat sitting next week. Kate brought me in a cup of Yorkshire tea in an appropriate mug and then got herself ready for art class. I went back to sleep for a bit and really did not want to get out of bed at all. I didn’t relish the thought of walking home so I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mark was still home and was happy to give me a lift in the buggy, he was going in to town anyway. I had a pain au chocolat for breakfast at home before Turkish class, then put all my cat hair covered clothes in the wash and had a shower. Turkish class was really good today and I felt like I was learning more hearty sentences that I would be able to use. The staff at Lukka are very good too at encouraging us to practice our Turkish skills. For lunch Vanessa and I went to Rehab bar where Tayfur ordered us a chicken wrap with chips from Cafe Dalyan. It was only 30 lira and was tasty so we ordered one for Kate for after her Turkish class. Penny and Phil arrived next and decided another chicken wrap was in order and I bet the delivery guy thought we were odd, as he came over for the 3rd time. Jo arrived next with her cute little dog, Charlie, and we all had a good old natter. I’d had an update that the embassy would no longer be able to process a visa for me and was waiting to speak to Captain Caveman. He called as soon as I had finished eating and I went outside to speak to him. As is often the case, Captain Caveman had a Plan B for me coming to visit. He told me to look for a flight and apply for just a 30 day e-Visa. We would then fly out of Vietnam and back after getting a 2nd e-Visa for another 30 days, if I could. This all seemed straight forward but given that I would need a negative PCR test to enter Vietnam I had to be careful I didn’t pick a flight with a long lay over. We agreed a Turkish Airlines direct flight from Istanbul would be better but they had no flights on as yet. I would continue to wait but it was going to happen, I would go to Vietnam. I also had a date in the diary to be in Saigon on the 10th June for an important event which Captain Caveman had already committed to. I went back in to the bar, a little giddy that there was an alternative plan, but then there was some bad news. Debbie (Darling), Roy and Sue were all positive for Corona and had aborted their trip to Pamukkale. They had got a taxi back to Dalyan and Debbie (Darling) was quite poorly. She asked me to let everyone know, who had been in contact with them, that we needed to do another test. I had been in close contact with all 3 of them on Monday so it was probably only a matter of time until I caught it now. I went home, via the ongoing roadworks and scenic route, and had red wine, bread, cheese and olives but didn’t do a test as I’d had alcohol. A massive thunderstorm and heavy rain was due which also meant the WiFi went off for quite a few hours.
Having had a lovely deep sleep, Captain Caveman was awake before 6am on Sunday 4th April. I was still incredibly tired, having had very little sleep and took a few minutes to understand when Captain Caveman said our flight was delayed. We were booked on the 12.20 from Saigon back to Dong Hoi which was now due to leave at 14.30, giving us an extra 2 hours. We’d already arranged to meet friends at Lubu for breakfast at 8.30am so we stuck with the original plan and it just meant we could take it more leisurely. A couple of friends had to cancel but still on the guest list were Keith from Grimsby (who got back from Phong Nha late last night) and Andrea, who also brought her friend, Anne. We had packed, checked out of the lovely Common Inn and got a Grab taxi to the restaurant, where it turned out we had been before for tapas a few years ago. The food was really great and I had the best pot of earl grey tea and a bacon sandwich I’d had in a long time. At Lubu there is a free Bloody Mary included in the breakfast which the others all had and Captain Caveman even had a second breakfast of a buttered crumpet and I tasted it, I loved it. I’d been eating gluten all weekend without any problem but for some reason both Captain Caveman and I had bad stomachs after breakfast and he had to pop to a chemist for imodium.
We said our goodbyes to everyone after a lovely breakfast and got our Grab taxi to the airport. Just as we were about to board the plane a massive downpour came, I heard it on the roof first but Captain Caveman reckoned it was the sound of the planes! Typically, I hadn’t brought a rain jacket so it was a good job there was a bus to the plane, there was a lot of pushing and shoving up the steps and I eventually got sat down on the back seat.
Our original flight from Saigon on Sunday 4th April should have been landing in Dong Hoi just before 2pm. I had arranged for Kimmie, my visa agent, to meet me as we landed and so had to reschedule her as well as Captain Caveman having to change our pick up car. Luckily our vehicle was picking up some Oxalis customers who were also on our flight and so we were able to get the same car (for free) and get Captain Caveman back in time for his Son Doong briefing at Oxalis Home. It did mean that I had to get dropped off along the way, instead of going home to shower or change and, as luck would have it, another night out was on the horizon. It was Hamish and Ania’s last night in Phong Nha, they had decided to leave earlier than intended so we had picked the ideal spot for a bit of a leaving do – at the Lake House. I had thought I’d be late but it turned out I was early and ordered some fried rice to line my stomach with before the shenanigans started. Tham and Tony, the Lake House owners, joined me for a chat and it was reassuring to hear that Captain Caveman and I may have been out of town but we were still being talked about! Tham insisted that we had moved in with Shannon, Stu and the kids and would not have it that we hadn’t – the guy who told her is apparently more reliable than one of the people involved. Tony and I found it funny and were still laughing as Hamish and Ania arrived. They had been on a lively one the previous night and were feeling a bit delicate so we all had to have a soft drink while we waited for Tatas to arrive. She arrived, wearing a really nice dress and ready to party – we were both going to miss Hamish and Ania! They were an entertaining couple that was for sure and we chatted about meeting up again in the not so distant future. Tatas and I got a bottle of the cheapest (but still very good) red wine, the others went for a nice bottle of white wine. Everyone but Tatas decided to have the Australian beef steak and, for 275,000vnd (£8.53), it is fantastic. Tequilas were requested and poor Tham brought 2 in martini glasses thinking that’s how much you get in a shot! In the end Tony took over and just brought the whole bottle out. It was a brilliant night and obviously got a bit messy. We had to wake the security guard up to sort out a taxi home and the waitress took Tatas home, we had had such a laugh and I had limited myself to the small shot glass for my Tequila, in case I’d had to walk home! When we came to pay Tony insisted he pay for the tequilas and would not let us leave until we finished the whole bottle, even though he had an interview tomorrow and his wife had long since gone to bed! Captain Caveman was pleased I was getting a taxi home as it meant he could go straight home after his briefing and have a relatively early night before his next trip to Son Doong tomorrow. Because he had cycled Bluey to the Glass House on the morning of the 1st April, she was still there and so he rode her home that night, thinking I would need her while he was gone for my exercise routine.
Captain Caveman was awake at 5am on Saturday 3rd April, slipping on his cycling attire and getting excited for his forthcoming participation in a 66km cycle route in the Tri An reservoir area. I had the day to myself and had arranged to meet a few different friends who I was trying to coordinate in to the one meeting place but failing. In the Vietnamese news it was officially announced that there would be flights from Vietnam to Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan starting this week, but it was still only possible to book the return journey if you are Vietnamese or have a company sponsor as an expert, not to be used for tourism. More info here: https://vietnaminsider.vn/its-official-vietnam-resumes-international-commercial-flights-tickets-now-available/ Thao Dien is District 2 but the people I wanted to meet up with were in either District 1 or 7 and they were a bit reluctant/didn’t have time to come to where I was. I really liked the area we were staying in and had a list of places I wanted to eat at so my first meal of the day was at Marcel Gourmet Burger for lunch. It was a very short walk from Common Inn but because the last time I had gone past it, it had felt further away, I actually missed the turning and walked twice as far. When I arrived it was fairly busy so I sat on another high chair in the corner and ordered the blue cheese burger with French fries and homemade lemonade. As my food arrived an English bloke had started having a work related telephone meeting and he obviously wanted the whole room to hear how important he thought he was – I hate people who have to work loudly in cafes, what is wrong with people!? It went on for the whole hour I was there but I still enjoyed my food and would definitely eat there again. After a very filling meal I walked back in the hottest part of the day for a lay down and to watch The Serpent on Netflix.
I missed an invite, in the afternoon, to a cafe called Kashew which has vegan cheese so that went on my list to try next time but I did bump into one of Captain Caveman’s cycling mates in Bia Craft. I had regretted not trying the cherry beer yesterday so had stopped off for a couple where Neil and his mate Mark were drinking. After my beer I walked to try another recommended place called Union Jack’s, with the aim of Captain Caveman joining me for their famous fish and chips. He had finished the cycling, had a few beers and was now on his way back to the hotel for a shower so I told him to hurry up or we would be late to the gig later. I ordered a Bramble (cocktail) and was surprised at how good it was, by the time Captain Caveman arrived he was late and very sunburned and merry. We ordered cod and chips straight away, him with mushy peas and tatar sauce, me with a slice of bread and butter and I had another Bramble. They didn’t have non-brew condiment vinegar so I had the malt vinegar and I have to say the fish was as good as a lot I’ve had in the UK, the chips were good but less greasy than in England. I had to race mine down, Captain Caveman was already good at eating fast and then we got a Grab taxi to the venue so we could buy a ticket and reserve the seats.
At Cafe de Stagiaires we were a bit early to get to the rooftop but we only had to wait a few minutes, pay the ticket price of 200,000vnd (£6.20) each and navigate the oddly structured staircase – I couldn’t have walked up them a few months ago! The bar situation was a bit complicated and resulted in a long wait with staff stood about but unable to serve because of the ticket and payment process but eventually we got beers, only to realise there was table service from a bloke who looked more like a guest than staff (it’s a sign I’m getting old). Chris and Huong arrived and we had a great night, the music was really good and we were giving the ball a right old kick until Chris noticed Captain Caveman having a crafty nap! Because of the boozing and bicycling it looked like Captain Caveman was done in and so we waited until the grand finale of the band before planning our exit. Chris and I recognised the last song which all the Vietnamese people seemed to enjoy, only to realise it was a version of ‘Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’ – hilarious! I reluctantly said goodbye, with promises to come back again for more fun nights out and I managed to navigate the unusual staircase by holding on to Captain Caveman, thus holding up a big load of people behind us. I really liked the venue and would definitely come back again, I even decided we should walk it back to the hotel rather than mess about with a Grab but we got a little bit lost. Before I even got to bed Captain Caveman was fast asleep, fully clothed and snoring and I could not get him to move or stop snoring – I was in for a sleepless night!
After a big week of eating and drinking at the end of March, beginning of April, I was astounded to find I had lost weight when I stepped on the hotel room scales on Friday 2nd April. I had lost 3kg since I had last got weighed (2 weeks ago) and I was so excited about that. Captain Caveman had gone to meet a friend for coffee so I had a chance to relax but I made a mental note to get him to check the scales were working by seeing if he weighed any differently to normal (he checked later and the scales were probably correct). The Amanaki Saigon Boutique Hotel, in District 1, was very nice with lovely staff, a great shower and environmentally friendly products so it was a pity that we were only staying there 1 night really, we checked out at noon and got a Grab taxi to our lunch stop.
I’d suggested we could have a curry for lunch (we had eaten so much yesterday that we didn’t have breakfast) and Captain Caveman had on his list of recommended places an ideal spot, walking distance from our next hotel in District 2 (Thao Dien). We arrived at Baba’s kitchen, sat in a corner with our luggage, perused the extensive menu and ordered a couple of Saigon Red beers. Captain Caveman ordered onion bhajis to start and we shared those, then we had masala dosa for him and a chicken tikka masala with a chapati and plain rice for me. The food was amazing and the beers refreshingly cold on a hot day so we ordered another. The staff were great, I even got just the right level of spice for my meal and we were so full afterwards that I was needing a rest before our next lot of activities.
Captain Caveman had booked us in at the Common Inn hotel, in the Thao Dien area of Saigon, for a couple of nights so we walked there from Baba’s Kitchen. The receptionist was friendly and had good English so we chatted for a bit and I signed some paperwork. The room was small but with enough storage and a comfy bed so I was pleased, it’s location was also great for me to walk around by myself when Captain Caveman was busy. After unpacking, including the bottle of Israeli wine Captain Caveman received from Hung last night, we had a bit of a rest (I maybe had a little nannan nap) and then we had a short walk to Bia Craft on the way to meet our friend, Andrea. Captain Caveman and I met Andrea at Pasteur Street Brewery in Thao Dien, another short walk away, where I managed to sit on a high stool for the second day in a row – I even had a couple of actual beers which were great and the manager came across friendly and welcoming. Andrea and I had arranged to go for an Italian meal while Captain Caveman went to watch Saigon United play football, with Scott. I’d chosen to dine at Pendalasco (the Italian place recommended by Mauro, the Italian) and it was just a short walk away from the pub. Andrea chose a nice bottle of red wine for us to share and we ordered a mixture of foods which Andrea insisted I choose. Our shared starter of prosciutto and melon was so tasty but light and we shared a couple of delicious main courses; beef rib with tomato salad and a walnut and gorgonzola gnocchi which was fantastic. As Andrea was joining the cycling event the next day too we didn’t want a late night so we got a taxi to drop me off on the way to her’s and then got lost. I got to the hotel, had a shower and got in to bed, waiting for Captain Caveman to come home so he too could get an early night. Instead, he called me to say he was at a Vietnamese BBQ place nearby, to get dressed again and come to join him.
I found Quan Ut Ut easily and a rather tipsy Captain Caveman had got a beer, some extra loaded (with cheese, jalapenos, sweetcorn, salsa, sour cream, bacon and crispy chicken skin) fries and a half rack of BBQ ribs. I ordered a diet coke and tried to resist trying the ribs and fries which smelled great. He couldn’t eat all of it so I did help out a little and the ribs were pretty good. As we were talking about meeting up with people while we were in Saigon and only having a short time left, Chris (the Belgian) and his girlfriend, Huong, walked past. What great timing, as I’d wanted to go out with them to the P’ti Sunday brunch which we would now be missing. We arranged to meet them tomorrow as they invited us to see a live band with them – I couldn’t remember when I was last at a gig and I didn’t even care what kind of music it was, we were in! We walked the short distance back to our hotel, got in to bed and set the alarm for 5am!
April had an exciting start and on Thursday 1st April I was lucky enough to be able to join Captain Caveman on his weekend trip to Saigon. My visa agent had agreed to let me hand in my passport for the next visa extension on a Sunday so as long as I was back by then, all was good. Captain Caveman was up early and off to Phong Nha to do a few last minute jobs and have breakfast at The Villas. I packed my bag and then went downstairs to see if we had anything in for breakfast. I checked our fridge to find that there were quite a few things which had gone off, including a completely green block of cheese! I had the last of the 2 dates for my brunch and avoided bread in case it set me off for travelling later. In the news there was hope of direct flights from Vietnam to the UK being put on, could this news mean I could go back to the UK this summer? https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/business/20210401/vietnams-bamboo-airways-secures-slots-for-direct-flights-to-uk/60089.html Reports mentioned a potential reopening later for the UK but there was nothing definite as yet. More info here: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/business/20210401/vietnam-aviation-authority-proposes-timeline-to-reopen-intl-routes/60084.html Captain Caveman got picked up from the Glass House at 1.30pm and then came to pick me up at Elements with an Italian customer, Mauro, who was also on the same flight as us. He was nice and chatty and even gave me some recommendations of places that he liked to eat at, in Saigon. At the airport we bumped in to Annette and Sonya and we even ended up sat near them on the plane.
Captain Caveman and I landed at Ho Chi Minh airport at 17.10 and I was really excited to be visiting again. This trip was mainly because Captain Caveman was cycling in a ‘fun’ event with some friends but I had took the opportunity to join him so that we could meet up with friends we hadn’t seen in a while and one in particular who we really didn’t know when we would get to see again. Ali, the filmaker, had finished the work on his film about Phong Nha so would be going back to Japan with no imminent plans to return. Both Captain Caveman and I really like Ali’s company and we always have a good laugh with him, I think it’s the passion that they both share for Phong Nha (the people and the caves) which makes them get on so well – it’s certainly really refreshing to see. We had agreed to meet for a cocktail (or two) around 6.30pm and this meant we were in a rush to get our bags to the hotel and then to the venue I had suggested. Captain Caveman dropped me off at Racha Rooms while he took the bags and checked in to our hotel in District 1, the Amanaki Saigon Boutique. After hand sanitizer usage and being escorted to my table by a masked waitress I ordered my first cocktail, noticing it was 50% off most drinks until 8pm. I was also extremely hungry, having only had 2 dates to eat that morning, so I ordered a couple of snacks. The Bellini cocktail was good, the duck dumplings and the wagyu beef gyozas were delightful and I’d scoffed the lot before Captain Caveman or Ali arrived. Captain Caveman was surprised to see a full martini with olives in front of me when he arrived, but I reassured him I’d drank a cocktail and had 2 starters already. He looked relieved as he knows I get hangry very easily and he ordered his cocktail. Ali arrived and he ordered a gin cocktail, we ordered more dumplings and the waitress remembered I had said I couldn’t eat chillies so she told me the pork dumplings’ sauce had chilli in it – impressive service. Captain Caveman and I decided to have the same cocktail as Ali when he ordered his next one and then we had to think about dinner.
As it turned out, the restaurant Captain Caveman and I wanted to try was the place Ali had been to the night before but he said it was great and that we should go again. Captain Caveman and I got the bill in Racha Rooms, mainly so that Ali didn’t see what a pig I’d been by eating so much before going for dinner, but I knew we would be drinking and didn’t want to get hammered. When we arrived at Quince it was around 7.30pm and they were busy, being in Phong Nha we weren’t used to the city life where you should book a table at a restaurant – especially one that came recommended. Ali stepped in and was able to secure us a table at 8pm and we went to the upstairs lounge, Madame Kew, for a pre-dinner bottle of red wine. Ali and Captain Caveman were like happy little kids when they saw the leather Chesterfield sofa and I got a couple of photos of them messing about. The wine was really good and the next time I’m in Saigon I would like to try the food at Madame Kew’s as it’s a really nice place.
It was about 8.30pm by the time we got seated at our table in Quince for dinner. I managed a progress milestone by being able to sit on a high chair, which I hadn’t been able to do before very easily, because of my injury. We completely over ordered on the food but it was absolutely delicious and I would definitely go there again (no wonder Ali agreed to go 2 nights in a row). We had another bottle of wine, shared starters including some really good hummus, the service was excellent. For main courses Ali and I had the duck dish which was lovely, and a half baked cauliflower which we loved. Captain Caveman had a fancy version of pork with black pudding and mash, we had more wine and had to leave the side order of buttered lettuce as we were all too full. When Ali was given the bill, a plate of jelly teddies with a twist came too and they were very different!
Just as I was getting ready to go to our hotel for a much needed lay down, Captain Caveman had a message from his friend, Hung, who invited us for a nightcap at the Cork and Bottle. Ali got us all a Grab and we moseyed over there, where Hung was with his friends, An and Huyen. We were made very welcome, despite the bar being ‘closed’ and you could tell we were drinking expensive wine with VIPs when I noticed they had a member of staff constantly on wine top up and photo taking duties. Chugging glasses of posh red wine and shouting ‘một, hai, ba, dzo!’ which means 1, 2, 3, drink, is not how I expected the evening would end – but I managed it. We even met a famous Vietnamese TV actor, called Minh, who was very nice and had a lovely assistant who was very friendly. We rolled in to the hotel after midnight and had to put the Aircon on to sleep, it was still hot!
Photo credit – Captain Caveman, staff at Quince and Cork & Bottle