Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fun for some

Not for this guy, I suspect, judging by how much pork we've been served since we've been here: every lunch and dinner, and sometimes breakfast too. Probably not going to end well for him - though the baskets of piglets we also passed on the road, on the backs of motorbikes, were more likely just moving house. Today's most amazing motorbike loads were a roof truss on one and two 2-seater wooden benches on another. Yes, we were on the road again, heading back south to Hanoi - yet another long day in the van, but less of an ordeal today as the mountains were behind us and long sections of the road were pretty civilised.

You might think that spending so many hours in a van is a tedious waste of a holiday, but the simple fact is that to get to that amazing karst scenery up north, it's the only way, as there are no airstrips. And I wouldn't have missed seeing those mountains for anything. This is, after all, a World Expeditions trip; besides, as I keep saying, the entertainment value of the traffic itself simply has to be seen to be appreciated.

So here we are back in Hanoi, briefly, before heading off again tomorrow. There was a very good dinner at Quan An Ngon, a huge and efficient restaurant seething with staff; there were drinks beforehand at a rooftop bar overlooking the swirl of traffic circling a roundabout by the lake, and afterwards in the elegant splendour of the Metropole; but best of all there was life to enjoy - where else, but on the streets: children playing and shouting "Hello" before rushing away giggling, families eating, the surging tide of motorbikes to weave through crossing the road, goods laid out, bright and neat and ordered by type, so there seemed to be a book street, a bling street, a toy street, a whisky street and so on. We finished by strolling around the lake in the dark, the coloured lights reflected in the black water (hiding apparently a mythical turtle), alongside which people sat and rollerskated and talked and courted and laughed and played games and danced. And they were all having fun.

1 comment:

Brett Atkinson said...

Gotta love Ha Giang province -that route from Dong Van to Meo Vac is pretty special isn't it, but it sounds like work on the roads hasn't moved on much since I was up there researching for LP in April last year...

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