Me and my guide (Hang) off to Mai Chau

Trip Start Oct 25, 2006
Trip End Nov 19, 2006

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Up early to prepare for my trip to Mai Chau. I had booked a private trip for 3 days with my own driver and guide. I expected to have a middle aged bloke to accompany me for the trip but when I got to reception I was amazed to see a beautiful young girl waiting for me ;-) Three days in the middle of rural Vietnam, peace, quiet and a work of art as my companion. I'll have to be careful what I say as she is helping me write these entries!

We set off at 8 and headed out through the mopeds towards the edge of Hanoi. It took nearly an hour before we hit the real countryside. Soon the hills started to get bigger and more and more old women were working in the fields with hand tools, digging, reaping and sowing the rice. We stopped at a village market to stretch our legs and have a look around. We bought a big bag of mandarins from the lady in the picture, a huge bag for 40p.

After about 3 1/2 hours we were at the top of the mountain pass and way below us in a flat plain surrounded by the hills was Mai Chau. Mai Chau is a district containing a town and some small villages. We passed through the main town of Mai Chau to Lac, which means a small village in the fields.

The people in this area are of Thai Den (Black Thai) decent and in addition to speaking Vietnamese they also have their own language.

After a lovely lunch of local style food, rice, fried vegetables, fried pork, fried chicken, cucumber and mandarins we set off for a walk to the next village to visit Hang's friend Xuan. We had some tea (which is served very strong) and a big plate of cucumber which tastes nicer than that found in England. So nice in fact that Hang finished the whole plate full. She is only 43kgs but she can sure eat a lot. We then headed on further and sat on the edge of a dam and watched the daily life. Men were in the fields catching crickets which they eat fried. A lady passed by carrying a basket of water lilies which are used for feeding the pigs. At 5pm everyone in the fields finished work and headed home across the dam to their village.

Again some great food, although despite loving Asian food I think even I would get bored of rice meat and veg after a while. Later the Grandfather of the house who is 83 made up my room, he hangs some sheets from the beams for walls, lays my futon on the floor and puts mosquito net over the bed. It is soon time for bed, this area rises with the sun and goes to bed equally early.
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