Not enough time to go to picturesque Sa Pa (and frankly wanting to avoid the tourist crowd), Mai Chau was a one-day stop. On the ride up, I got to taste rice that was steamed in bamboo and then dipped in sesame. Yum. Roadside markets... rice paddies...cows...bicycle riding... A jam packed day. Oh, and for about 2km, the driver for the day couldn't see beyond his nose. 'Uh oh' or go with the flow? Go with the flow. What's a steep canyon drop when you can't see it anyway, right?
Despite missing the majestic terraces of Sa Pa, the almost neon greenery in Mai Chau was absolutely stunning and unlike anything I have seen elsewhere. The skills that I lack with a camera can hardly capture the beauty of the bike ride. Personally, I find green landscapes, whether it is in the form of trees or grass, to be the most soothing and pleasing to the eye--maybe it's due to the fact that I've lived a concrete jungle for a number of years? Regardless, our bicycle guide insisted "it gets to be really beautiful during the harvest when everything turns yellow."
Yellow? Yellow!? Now, I'm sure that these fields are picturesque even in yellow, but who wants to see dried up plants? Clearly, this comment is coming from a different place. For me, the green is vitality and life, something that is unseen in a big city. For him and the rest of the locals, for a country that receives insurmountable rains that feeds this greenery, the beauty comes when there is a change, any change, in landscape. Coincidentally, this change goes hand in hand with the harvest--a harvest that is absolutely crucial to a country whose lifeline and top export is rice. Without the harvest, without the yellow, there would be no export.
|Daisy & a few other animals at a roadside market|
|Machete used to cut open my sticky rice that was cooked in bamboo|
|Wheels and road for the day|
|Visibility. What visibility?|
|Stilt house meant to protect against seasonal floods|
|Believe he said this was papaya. Never seen it grown on a tree before!|