Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Northern Vietnam... Sa Pa to Ngai Lo

After spending a few days in Sa Pa I decided that it was time to start heading South. Since I did not speak the language in Vietnam I used a method that I devised while riding in South America. I would look up the name of a destination that I wanted to visit and then write on a piece of paper the destination and all the little towns in between my current location and my destination. Mostly it would be the names of the towns that fall on crossroads. This way, if I were to ever get lost and were to need to ask for directions I could simply point to the next town on the list and generally a person would know how to provide me directions by pointing. If I were to ask for directions to my final destination, the directions could get too complicated. But one town at a time always seemed to work just fine. The list above was a simple example of this technique and just happened to be the route that I chose to follow on this particular day. 
As I headed south, I passed by some amazing scenery. The road was in decent condition and very twisty. I decided to ride fairly cautiously because it was rainy and cloudy. There was one section of the route through the clouds where the visibility was probably less than 100 feet (30 meters). Luckily there was not much traffic. 
I pased by a number of waterfalls, but only stopped at this one to take a photo. I was enjoying the ride too much to stop. 
After riding through the mountains for a couple of hours the land began to flatten out. There were still a number of terraced rice fields, but the valleys were now wider and more expansive.
A number of times I would see a large group of motorcycles parked along the side of the road. At first I thought that perhaps a group of riders had pulled over to to rest or socialize.
But then I realized that the motos belonged to the group of workers that were planting the fields nearby. In Texas you might see a similar scene with pickup trucks pulled over to the side of the road. Here in Vietnam you see motorcycles... the true workhorses of Vietnam.
While I was on the side of the road taking photos of the rice fields this striking lady walked by. She was dressed in an outfit that consisted of both modern and traditional clothing. I think that she pulled off the look nicely... Vietnamese nouveau chic.
I think that she was just as curious about what I was wearing as I was about what she was wearing. My style might be considered retro moto renaissance.
Many of the fields in this area were still being planted. It actually allowed me the opportunity to see how intricately the terraces were constructed. The terraces followed the contours of the land and flowed naturally one into another... fine sculptured masterpieces. 

I rode until I ran out of day light. I ended up stopping in a small town called Ngai Lo. 

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