Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Muong Lay

We didn't sleep too well. The dogs that were roaming the streets of the town the previous night were making a pain of themselves by having barking duels.

Before dawn loud speakers not far enough from our guesthouse started to blare out what sounded music and announcements. I figured that we were being subjected to propaganda and exorted to work hard for the future of Vietnamese socialism.
The road was quite bad as we followed the river along quite a narrow valley. The work was being done much more by hand than back home. New ditches were dug and rocks were broken up into gravel by gangs of people rather than a single digger or rock smasher. I guess this kept more people in employment and labour seemed to be pretty cheap around here.

The town didn't have anything to recommend it and clear ly didn't get many tourists. It had a single dusty street with a market off it. After we checked into our accomodation we went for a walk and felt all eyes on us. This and the fact that it was the hottest and most humid afternoon we'd experienced so far soon sent us back to the cool of the fan in our room.

We'd planned to make this day a relatively short one and had arrived at our destination just after 1pm. We got a room at the Lan Anh hotel and got a room for 220,000 dong. We'd been led to believe that it was quite a nice place by our guidebook the Lonely Planet who called it one of the most switched on places in the North West of Vietnam. While the place was nice enough, we got a hot shower and a rest. It seemed to us that it was anything other than switched on with millions of staff wondring around who were unable and unwilling to provide much help. Perhaps this was the legacy of communism in combination with little tourism.
46km - 3 hr 23 mins - avg 13.7 km/hr
N 22'3.185 E 103'9.530

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