Orient Express, Short Version

Back in Hanoi, we walked around town, stopped for an egg coffee, and then saw a water puppet show. I rank water puppet shows a close second to kabuki theater, something you only need to do once; egg coffee, on the other hand, is worth a repeat performance.

We are now in the final phase of our Vietnam trip. Next up, a visit to the northern highlands by train.

The sleeper train to Lao Cai left Hanoi Station at 10:00 p.m. Loc and our driver drove the van with the luggage and met us at the Lao Cai train station the next morning. We’ve taken overnight trains from Edinburgh to London and from Stuttgart to Berlin, not sleeping well on either one, but we were pleasantly surprised with a good night’s sleep on this one.

We arrived in Lao Cai a little before 6:00 a.m., had breakfast, and then were surprised when Loc suggested we stop at the Chinese border before leaving town. There’s a Buddhist pagoda at an overlook next to the pedestrian border crossing into China from Lao Cai, Vietnam, so we stopped there for a peek across the river at Hekou, China.

This is probably as close to China as I’ll ever get. China’s Paramount Leader, Xi Jinping, welcomed us from four rooftop billboards.

Leaving the border, we drove southwest toward the village of Ban Bo, passing numerous terraced rice fields along the way.

At a mountain pass, we stopped to sample water buffalo jerky and roasted chestnuts at a roadside stand operated by a local ethnic minority woman.

We continued our drive down the mountain and through Ban Bo to Na Luong village, our destination and the subject of my next post:

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