On the bus ride into Mai Chau, we gave everyone two choices:
Choice 1: A bonfire with karaoke.
Choice 2: A bonfire with villagers singing traditional songs and playing games with us.
Thank goodness everyone picked choice 2. However, we ended up getting a taste of both as the only other tourists in Mai Chau decided to do karaoke right near us:
(PICTURE: The locals singing and dancing for us...while Vietnamese tourists sing karaoke in the background.)
After about seven White Thai traditional hits, the locals had us all grab hands and dance in a circle while singing, "Nhu Co Bac Ho Trong Ngay Vui Dai Thang", a song about Ho Chi Minh. I had promised everyone a horah and this ended up being pretty darn close. You know, minus the lack of lifting people in chairs and the addition of singing about Ho Chi Minh.
(PICTURE: Dancing in a circle. Eventually we all linked hands and alternated people between White Thai and non White Thai.)
Anyone who knows me knows that I love camping. My experiences in Mai Chau have always been the closest to camping I've come in Vietnam. We had a great bonfire that night and ended up playing a hopscotch type game that Justin and I had played two years earlier at the same exact spot. After a couple of days of craziness, it was a great evening of relaxing in an open field with friends, locals and a little bit of local wine:
(PICTURE: Dana and Hannah making the local wine; a very elaborate process which has one pour water into fermented rice.)
(PICTURE: Everyone drank the wine out of long straws made of bamboo.)