Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mai Chau: Day 1

Mai Chau is a beautiful village 131 kilometers from Hanoi. The village has ethnic White Thai and Muong people living there and is surrounded by mountains on all sides. I consider Mai Chau one of my favorite places in Vietnam and was excited to be able to go there with Huyen, who had never been before.

Huyen and I set off at 6AM last Friday morning and didn't get too far before we realized that it was freezing out. We pulled over to the side of the road and put on some extra layers of clothes. I actually had to wrap a towel around my neck to stay warm...hence this sweet fashion statement:

Riding to Mai Chau was another reminder of how quickly Vietnam is developing. There was a new major road on the way that probably shaved off 15 kilometers of the drive. Even more obvious though was that the actual road to Mai Chau had been widened to probably double the width. When my cousin Justin and I had gone there over a year ago, the road was probably about eight feet wide; now large buses are traveling down the road. The town is still as peaceful as ever but there were definitely a larger number of tourists this time than during my previous two visits.

Huyen and I headed straight for House Number 20, my favorite guest house in Mai Chau:

After throwing our bags into our stilt house, I took a nap on the same hammock I've passed out in a couple of times before:


At night, Huyen and I enjoyed some traditional White Thai music and dancing:
video

After dinner we headed for the soccer field for the nightly bonfire:

It was great to be back in Mai Chau!