Scenery along the way

We have left Laos and are now in Vietnam.    It took us longer than planned to reach the border (lots of chickens in the middle of the road – not to mention dogs and children – and many mountains to climb).   The upshot of all of that is the border control people in Vietnam close at 11:00 for a two hour lunch.  We arrived at 11:10!   😖.

The kitchen of our first restaurant in Vietnam!     Good thing we saw this after lunch. . .  😀

So . . .  Fortunately , our guide was there and we figured out a plan .   The bathroom was off to the left – probably the worst one I have ever encountered. I chose the side of the road – literally!   😳.   Didn’t even care if a truck went by . .  Then we decided we’d have lunch – to kill some time.  Only problem was that the one place available had no food left.   We hadn’t officially entered Vietnam yet . . But our trusty guide found us a place to store the luggage and we snuck across the border to another little place.

Welcome to Vietnam. Funny little restaurant just across the border . . .
This place offered complimentary tobacco.      And – a lovely pipe to smoke it in! Here is our driver doing just thar!    Te says he has never smoked and doesn’t want to start! 😀
Tobacco – stored in a recycled jar

Te, the guide, ordered for us – wonderful tradition Vietnamese food –  a broth soup with greens, this ground pork stuff that had been steamed in banana leaves, another meat item, some rice, and another green that tasted a bit like fiddleheads.    So good – $16 for all of us!

Rice growing all along the way

We have already learned lots about all the wars here . .  These poor countries were smack in the middle of big conflicts between the big powerful countries.  Like US, the British, French, and Russia!   Terrible!   Using the restroom here was quite the experience.    You had to go through the kitchen, where they were washing dishes, push through a heavy door, find the light switch, and then you encountered the hole in the floor!   😀    They did have TP!

The hallway leading th the bathroom

Once we got ourselves through passport control and bought our visas, we were on the road!   Immense, towering mountains with deep vegetation covered valleys!  Stunning scenery!    We stopped to walk through this community rice paddy.   So fascinating .    I’ve always wanted to see the rice paddies . . .

Each family gets a rectangle of land   They work the soil, often with the help of a buffalo.    Today they were adding some fertilizer (some natural, some chemical)   And spreading the rice.   On a certain day, the government will flood the field because rice grows in the water    The people were all wearing rubber boots.   ( such things like eels live in the rice paddies . .)   The women were totally covered – even their faces because they want to keep their skin as light as possible     😀

The buffalo were pretty cute

This woman was pretty friendly

We stopped to enjoy the local market and then checked into the hotel!   This town is not a tourist town and there is literally nothing to see or do here    We looked around for a place to relax and have a drink   No such place existed!   We ended up back in the hotel!    Dave and John stopped at the hotel bar outside and ordered  beer from the refrigerator – not cold!    Apparently, th refrigerator was not turned on . .  😳.   So they joined us   We had ordered gin and tonics.   Not on the menu.    So we watched our waitress leave the hotel and go out to get some gin for our drinks – she had told us it would be four minutes!   It took way longer.   Pretty funny . . .

Lush veggies
Anyone for some goat hoofs? They eat everything
This chicken was alive. They like things fresh over here! 😀
Heavily laden motorbikes!

 

Full of chicken 

The gin and tonics were really good as was our dinner    But the funny part was that our four drinks plus two beers cost more than the entire dinner!    $18 per couple for everything.    Food is so darn cheap here.   And really good!

The top notch on this ladies head signifies that she is happily married. Note the mask on the child. 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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