27.12.2015 - 27.12.2015 25 °C
Up early - 6 ish for a feed and breakfast then and hour & a bit travel by vehicle to the NW.
Met about 60 villagers who have traveled for hours from remote areas. No roads, just walking / bike tracks. Met on a block belonging to some Church. Apparently helps keep the political police away. Many were there waiting when we arrived and many kept turning up. The gifts of food were for their Christmas celebrations. Most survive on far less than a dollar a day, so any extra food is always good. After much conversation and speeches all left well pleased.
we then headed for another village I have visited a number of times before. Same story. A gathering point for all to travel to. People were very happy to receive the gifts. They were about to celebrate their Christmas later in the day, using the gathering as another reason to celebrate.
From here we traveled to Dak To for a great lunch. What a feast at a local dropin place. Great to back in the eating atmosphere of if you don't or can't eat it, throw in on the floor. A real highlight!!
from here we did a little touristing up to the Lao border. Just for the heck of it. There is a minor gate one needs to cross before getting close to the actual border processing place. We asked if it was ok to pass & told to go for it. On the way back we had an almighty robust discussion with the border guards about our illegal crossing. Their game of of extra income lost. Two male guards against three vocal Vietnamese woman was always going to be a lost cause for them. Good entertainment from the sidelines though.
ended the day with a delicious coffee and ice cream in a hotel only just discovered.