In broken english the girl explained to us that we had to cheer when she went on and we wished her and her friends good luck. We had landed on the village football pitch in the middle of some kind of performance or talent show with different groups trying their luck with dance routines and songs. The clear winners were the group dressed as chickens and the cross dressing dance routine…which was the nearest thing we saw to a panto this Christmas. All in Vietnamese really we had no idea what was going on but when a rival group turned up with their own speakers for karaoke we felt this was our que to leave…
Mai Chau, a few hours outside of Hanoi is a sleepy cluster of Black Thai villages, nestled into the mountainside. They, just like the ethnic Thais of Thailand, build their traditional wooden homes on high stilts to avoid the rains and catch the cool breeze in the hot summer months. But it was not summer now…it was cold. We were sharing a dorm room in a house on stilts and with no heating or insulation… nighttime was pretty cold. But there were still good reasons to be visiting Mai Chau.
The countryside is pretty spectacular, mountain ranges fringe the communities, cows wander through the fields on their own and its easy to explore traditional villages away from the touristy centre. We chose to do this on bikes, randomly choosing a road and seeing where we ended up. Women were weaving clothes underneath their homes and chickens and ducks clucked in hedges as we passed by.
Our time in the town was distinctive due to one unfortunate culinary mishap…we think we eat a dog noodle soup! Our suspicions were roused when we couldn’t work out the meat we were eating but then Ryan found some canine looking teeth in his broth and we were convinced. You know the worst thing about it…it tasted pretth good!
see you next time