final 6 days in Northern Vietnam
02.18.2009 - 03.18.2009 85 °F
The White Thai Village in Mai Chau
Bobby, our guide
You guessed it
A typical house or homestay at the White Thai Village
I'm off in 2 hours to Mai Chau for the 2-day trek, bike ride and homestay. Had a falling out with Sunshine Hotels here in Hanoi last evening. I had last minute changes to reservations, and the Gia Thinh had to put me up at a sister hotel for the one night only. They charged me the same rate - $30., and for that not insignificant amount (especially in Vietnam), I expect quality in accommodations. The room looked ok at first sight, but upon usage, it was far below par (computer that would not connect to the net, old TV and fridge, aging bathroom, no view at all and a small broken window pane! I demanded they reduce that rate to $15., and when they refused, I cancelled the final 4 nights at the Gia starting Friday. My friend, Diep, came through again, and within minutes he had me a $20. room with in-room computer at the Hanoi Lucky Hotel on Ngo Huyen (what would I ever do without this wonderful friend!)
Last night, Andy, Yuko and myself went down to Restaurant Street again, and sat down at a lively little seafood place with 1 menu for the entire establishment - no English spoken at all. The next table had steamed clams w/ginger & chilies, so I pointed to that for myself, and it was quite fresh and good. It was almost like San Francisco + extra humidity (cool heavy fog), and my glasses needed wipers. We did have fun on the walk back, stopped in for French pastry at a corner bakery, and walked in circles until we recognized Hang Bo witch later becomes Hang Bac (good thing too because my feet were about to fall off!)
Bobby picked me up next morning in his Mazda station wagon, and I was off for Mai Chau with a group of 3 Aussies.
Not too sure if the sun would shine, but Bobby assured us that Mai Chau Valley always cleared, and he was right. We had a great lunch at the homestay I was later to occupy (by my lonesome), and set off to see the White Thai Village by push bike - it was beautiful, and we only saw 3 or 4 other tourists all day. I had discovered that the 3 Aussies were on a 1 day tour, but Diep had sold me a 2 day tour! Sure enough, after the ride, the others returned to Hanoi, and Bobby assured me that another tour would soon arrive to keep me company at the homestay. Bobby was wrong, and it ended up a rather boring evening (I was the single occupant, and the family of 3 kept to themselves). I was so very bored by being left alone, that next morning, rather than wait for more of Bobby's tricks, I set out on foot, and was on the public Hanoi bus by 7am.