Where are we??
After our trekking experience we wanted to get out of town a bit. We had heard of a place called Mu Chang Chi and it sounded like a less touristy village about 3 hours away with spectacular views. We decided we would rent some motorbikes and take the adventure, similar to Davey Crockett down the river, except the river was coming from the sky! The rain was cold and endless. We didn’t let that stop us though. We ventured out on our bikes, bought some more ponchos and took off into the storm. About a half hour later we realized we were headed to Lao Cai instead of Lai Chau (haha rookie mistake). They sounded so similar we didn’t realize they were two different places. Turning back around still in the rain we got back on track. We were off… again!
Coming around the very curvy mountain roads on the bike was thrilling but terrifying when buses were passing buses which were already being passed by bikes, and then oncoming traffic at the same time! It was crazy, but I held it together and I am basically driving like a local now. Simon was basically James Bond as he flew around the curves of the mountain. (I’m sure this is all in my head) After about another hour and a half still in pouring rain and mountain gust winds that felt like a hurricane on a bike, we realized we were still 2 hours away and we were freezing and soaking wet. We found the nearest town and decided to venture to that one and just make lemonade out of lemons and stay for the night. We made more than lemonade, although it may have been very tart lemonade. The first place we stopped to warm up and talk about our game plan was at a restaurant/karaoke bar. Anne went to see if they were open and the guy and his wife was so excited we were there they literally sucked Anne into the place, and then proceeded to pull us all in one by one grabbing our hands like incapable 1st graders who might get lost and wander off. They helped us take our helmets and wet ponchos off and found us a seat. We nicknamed the guy Touchy Face because of the way he would shake our hands for way, way too long, and gave Simon the occasional face stroke. Then Touchy Face put all our hands in the middle for some reason and just held them all there for a strangely long time until Darja decided to break the awkwardness and do a cheer saying “Vietnam” as we all lifted our hands up and away like a high school cheer. We were so cold, wet, and confused that all we could do was laugh…and laugh…and laugh…We had about 5 pictures taken with all different Buddha statues the guy and his wife had. Did I mention no one spoke even a word of English other than hello! We also might be famous now, since the owners wife videotaped about half of the hour we were there. It was such an odd experience. When the guy started touching Simon’s face and rubbing his beard we decided enough was enough of this place and basically threw money down and ran out. We laughed about it for a good while the rest of the night.
The fun didn’t stop there either, apparently we ventured into a town where no tourists go. We found no one that spoke English and we had many great games of charades that night. The best was at the dinner place when the owner and his 10 year old daughter decided to come sit with us while we ate. He was so kind and thanked us for coming to visit Vietnam (at least that’s what we think he said). We caught about a third of his words after he talked for about 10 minutes. The night couldn’t have been complete without our own rooftop disco party that the hotel arranged just for us when we got back. It was raging with the 3 of us on a rooftop with one chair and disco light. So strange, but that’s what makes it so much fun!!