The Vietnamese people are really wonderfull. Yesterday evening I was really hungry and the hotel owner’s wife had gestured me to go outside for food, but due to the tet holidays most restaurants are closed, so I wasn’t able to find any. I did stumble uppon somekind of really nice coffee place where a Vietnamese guy and a Vietnamese girl were sitting outside having coffee. The girl spoke English pretty well and I asked here if I could get some food there, but she told me it was a coffee place and not a restaurant. She also told me that I would have a hard time finding a place to eat due to the tet holidays. So I continued my way for about 100 meter, after which the girl came running after me.
She told me that the lady that owns the cafe could offer me some traditional Vietnamese rice cake. So I followed here back and was served water, a coke, local thea, traditional Vietnamese rice cake, some cold meet and some other stuff. It was really great and the old lady seemed really happy to help me out! She even said that because it was tet that I didn’t have to pay. So I ate the food and the lady kept bringing rice cake untill I was full. After that I left, I thanked here and unnoticed I left some money underneath the tray, because I don’t like to live out of someone else’s pocket. So I walked back to my hotel and after about 500 meters I found the old lady running after me, calling me and waving the money that I’ve left behind in the air. No way that I was allowed to pay for her food. Such kindness.
The above is a nice story, but its not the only example. People are continuously waving, calling hello and smiling. Motorist drive along for a bit and kids give high fives. Today I’ve been invited into people’s homes about five or six times. And everyone is very gratefull if you wave back or give them a bit of attention. It is as if they are very proud that a foreigner comes to visit the place where they live and waves and smiles at them.
Dear Vietnamese people, please don’t change too much! The “Western” way of life is not the default and you have such a beautifull country. Please value your own way of life and all your beautifull landscapes! And please remain as hospitable and friendly as you are today!
I did a 110km today, with some 1150 meters elevation gain. The landscapes were really nice and the people really friendly. So it was a good day. Its one more day untill I reach Lao Cai. From there it is only 35km to Sa Pa, which is located some 1300 meters higher than Lao Cai.