Work in progress, please come back here for PHOTOS later.
Saturday, 26th November:
After a scrumptious burger lunch, we were picked up by Thuy and 1PM in a 16 seater van. Thuy is an old friend of Ritsu from her time living in Hanoi in the early 90ies. She had planned this whole weekend for us and her extended family.
First we drove for about 1h West to Sơn Tây, where we collected her brother with family and her parents.
As we drove towards the mountains, we stopped by a resort which offers a rather unique diversion: Bob sledding on a grassy hill. For some strange reason they call it ‘grass skiing’. Everyone hopped on the sleds, some alone, but most often in pairs, and then they were pushed down the hill, which huge fun especially for the kids!
After this, another short ride brought us to the entrance of Ba Vì National Park, which I am sure costs a pretty penny to get in, but we took a side road to our final destination, the Ba Vi homestead, which lies just outside of the park.
We settled into our rooms. We all (12 people) shared a traditional Vietnamese cottage, which is usually one big living room with 2 adjacent bedrooms. Definitely not 5 star plushy creature features, but sufficiently convenient, though I had my doubts I would get a good night’s sleep, sharing our bed with both, Ritsu AND Julius, something we had not done since he was 2 years old and much, much smaller.
The homestead offered some exploration options, like a small bamboo forest, some caged porcupine and wild boars. And we spent some time playing a traditional ring toss game. Then it was time for dinner!
A grill was set up right at our cottage and lots of goodies on skewers were ready for us to flame grill, plus veggies and lots of carbs. On a long table we all sat down and enjoyed the food. Later we would even trow some sweet potatoes into an open fire (which Julius had way too much fun with)
But first we were treated to a dance performance by the local minority people. And from the get go she invited the audience to join. And to my surprise, Julius was totally into it! He took part in all the dances, tried diligently not only to copy, but also to anticipate the next steps, or the next direction to move in. We all had a lot of fun and lots of laughs.
Finally it was time to go to bed, and as anticipated, one could hear every cough, every creak from 12 people trying to go to bed, but eventually it got quite and it seems everyone but me had fallen asleep.