Trip to Ba Vì Mountain, Part II

Work in progress, please come back here for PHOTOS later.

Sunday, 27th November:

After a night of pretty much no sleep, I got myself ready in running gear and greeted the day with an hour of running of the outskirts of the national park in sunshiny weather. When I got back I was hoping for coffee, but instead we started with our program and ‘hiked’ (maybe 15 minutes) to a nearby village to visit the ‘clay hut’, to get a demonstration on how to make the local rice cakes ‘bánh cuốn’. The kids had a great time using old time equipment to grind the rice with water into a milky solution which later would be poured over a sieve one a pot of steaming water, which then would turn into flat pan cakes, which were filled with a mix of mushrooms and pork and we were happily eating all of it.

We then proceeded to the fishing portion, but the water was very cold. But I noticed that Julius was already rolling his legs up, but in the end he did not go in. Instead we watched the fisherman going after one fish for us, which he added to the otehr 2 he already had prepared for us.

Then we were invited to rip handfuls of hay out of a big storage pile. The fish were put up on sticks on the ground, then surrounded by the hay, which then was lit of fire. I had never seen fish being grilled like this, and the result was really nice, smoky in flavor, which still juicy on the inside.

As a fun new experience, instead of simply walking back, we got a ride in one of those very basic mini tractors “xe công nông” back to our homestead, where lunch was waiting for us. More local fare, this time including grilled ostrich. Somehow I totally loved their cabbage and ate several bowls of that with rice. And I finally got some coffee!

It was time to pack up and check out, but our adventure was far from over.

On the way back we first stopped by and ostrich farm! Which was a pretty awesome sight to behold, and the big birds are rather tame, so it was save to get into their enclosure and they curiously even approached us, hoping for food, I bet.

Not enough animals yet? We visited another farm that specializes on goats, but also had plenty of sheep and rabbits, which again, was not only fun for the kids, but everyone.

The time had come to leave the Ba Vi area and we returned to Son Tay, not only to drop off half of Thuy’s family, but to walk around and explore the citadel, which reminded me a lot of the square architecture in Hue, just much smaller. It was apparent that the people here do not get to see many foreigners. And while Ritsu can perfectly blend in, I got the usual amount of bemused looks, and even requests to have pictures taken with some teenagers, which was fun. I wish I had asked them to send me copies, but there was a huge language barrier …

For dinner we had more local specialities at Thuy’s parents house. There was just a LOT of food this weekend. But finally, when we were all full and it had gotten dark outside, we commenced our return trip to Hanoi, with one last stop at one of the many road side milk shops (as Ba Vi is famous for it’s milk products) and I got a fresh bottle of goat milk.

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