Dien Bien Phu to Son La

Trip Start Mar 01, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Day3 Dien Bien Phu - Tuan Giao (Son La)

A great journey of 12 hrs heading back toward Sapa.

The roads were straight and long and dusty. The sun was still shinning and we made a few stops to Hill tribe homes.

The Black Thai's Live in Stilt houses, under which they keep their animals and, in this particular house - a distillery. This is how they made the local moonshine. And the woman of the house was an avid home distiller, happy to share the fruit of her toils. After a few toasts and buying some of her embroidery she finally let us go on our way, a little disappointed we couldn't stay for dinner.

After another hour we came to The Red River, so named because of its colour made by the red earth of the surrounding hills. We made our way down to the ferry crossing - a floating platform attached crudely to a tugboat - and parked ourselves, waiting to go. Gradually we noticed a crowd gathering around us...people just sat and starred. We were used to this by now and eventually a spokesman came forward.
After an introduction and pleasant chat, over the brief crossing, we were back in the saddle.

By now we were walking like cowboys. My bum was sore!

But the views kept surprising us around every corner...we fell behind schedule as it was hard not to stop for photos after every turn.

The sun was setting as we reached a small village...Van stopped and explained we should stay here for the night. He picked a house and asked us to wait on the road side. He came back with a grin on his face...he happily told us the family had agreed for us to stay the night and he had offered to cook for them on our behalf.

We were going to have a feast and we brought the duck!

Van plucked and cooked it and the youngest of the family helped whilst we sat with the elders. All three generations lived in the partitioned main room. It was clean and extremely well built.

The stilt house overlooked the green paddy fields sheltered in the valley of two hills and as dusk drew in the evening chorus of crickets and frogs serenaded our dinner.

They, as all the Vietnamese we had met, were warm and friendly and made us feel really at home.

We ate our simple meal, joked, laughed and drank...Kin up! - for tea, and Kin Oow! - for moonshine.

This was a perfect end to our trip...Thanks to Van...latter he would explain that he had to gain permission from the local police for us to stay in the village; a privilege we paid for but which was worth every penny.

We were woken by the Village Cockerel... and then some rousing Vietnamese music being played from the Village Hall...Van explained it was old radio giving information and music for the villagers before they went to work. So it was time to get up...ok we took the hint.

It was early but we still had long journey ahead and the weather today wasn't going to make it any easier...
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