Adventure Ha Giang ▬ Trip 04 Oct.2015

4.5 Day 3: Dongvan Town – Themvan Village – Xeolung Village – Nanli River, Vn’s North Pole

At 5:00 am, in the next morning, I woke up, I felt much better. I went to the bathroom. Then I went to the bed and wrote a letter for the girls to say thank them and I will pay their money back when we come back to Ho Chi Minh City.
I went to the petrol station, filled the motorbike up with gas, then I went to the market for breakfast.
On Sunday, the market was crowded with many people and many things was exotic to me.

Some children carried eggs, puppies, chicks for sale. They were displayed in a strange way that I have never seen before, it was totally different with the market in Ho Chi Minh City. The H mong young girls wore white bright dresses with tinsel necklaces on their neck. They looked so pretty. In the market, there were many fruits like apples, pears be pile with poor quality, they must be from China.

Some children carried eggs, puppies, chicks for sale – adventure Ha Giang

Everything was displayed for sale here- adventure Ha Giang

The H mong young girls wore white bright dresses with tinsel necklaces on their neck. – adventure Ha Giang

I walked around the market, their many visitors did like me, suddenly, someone called me behind. I looked back, the girls were standing there.

The girls were excited to help Hmong sister prepare for sell – adventure Ha Giang

I walked around the market to ask where I can exchange USD for VND. No one knew. Finally, there was a security staff told me that I should go to Hoa Cuong hotel to do it.

I received 320K from 15 USD – adventure Ha Giang

I went back to the homestay to gave money back to the girls, but they were not there. They checked out 30 minutes ago. The homestay host said they went to the petrol station. I followed them. We met together at a petrol station.
They were on the way to get to Lung Cu. Because I have been there last night, so I told them I will guide them to get there. We started. There were many groups of the visitor on the way to go there. The girls drove behind me. We drove a bit far away, I drove faster, then by means of mirror’s reflection, I saw 2 girls still behind me. I thought they were my friends so I kept going on my way. Minutes later, I lost them. At that time, I knew they were not my friends.
Going to an area near the border, I saw milestone 419. There was a group of tourists gathered there. I said hello to them and talked to them. One of the men warned me that I should stand there, don’t cross to the other side cause I can be arrested

Taking photos at 419 milestone – adventure Ha Giang

While waiting for the girls, I took some photos (See animal). There was one H mong man asked me what was I doing. I talked to him. He and some Hmong people were gathering, get ready to go to China for illegal working.

The 419 milestine when I stood in China’s side – adventure Ha Giang

There was a group of Hmong people garthered. They brought to them backpack – adventure Ha Giang

I pointed to a milestone which drawn by a black skull symbol and some chinese languages that I did not understand, I asked him what it means. He said it means if you cross over this side with illegal access, you will be arrested. – adventure Ha Giang

I saw a road behind 2 cars. . I asked him for one more question, Could I go to there and take some photos? He said yes, but if he yell out run, I have to run quickly – adventure Ha Giang

After that, I asked someone in Hmong group for the way to go to the North pole of Vietnam. They also did not know. I thanked them and said goodbye. I did not want stay there for a long time, you know, I can be arrested because the police would think I was one of them who worked without a legal license.

I drove to Ma Le, there was a flower garden which planted after the text “Ma Le Welcome”. I went to the edge of the abyss to saw how everything will be done if I crash from there to the bottom of the abyss last night. Maybe, until that day and some days after that, no one knew what happened to me. I died without no one’s knowing
Then, I went to the flagpole

It was so crowed in the flagpole – adventure Ha Giang

Take a break, I opened the map to search where is the North pole- adventure Ha Giang

I took a photos with the flagpole – adventure Ha Giang

I saw the way to get the North pole – adventure Ha Giang

Then I went down. I saw the girls on my way. I gave them back money for homestay renting. I also asked them about the North pole of Vietnam traveling, if they want, I will wait for them. They said yes.

I went to the parking lot while waiting for the girls, I asked a guard for the way to get to the north pole of Vietnam. He showed me, but he said it’s better we should rent for a tourist guide to lead us. I told him how about if I go alone. He warned me that there a lot of problems I can get if I go alone. Get lost, be arrested by China guards or something like that. I asked another woman for the same question. She said I should go to Xeo Lung village then I can ask someone in that village for the next step to get to the north pole of Vietnam. I had a discussion with the girls for that problem. They told me that we should join with some group as the guard said. I thought for a second and found it was a good chance to let me go alone. Then I decided to go alone. I said goodbye.
About 10: 30 am, I drove to army point to ask direction. They said “Go straight, at the end of the road, turn right, that is Xeo Lung village.
Follow the direction, I drove to the end of the road. There was a group of kids and 422 milestones. I stopped. There was no any wireless network connection I opened my map to find out where I was. I found that I was driving to West forward. I asked myself, Did I drive on the right way?
? No doubt, I kept moving forward. I just followed the path. The deeper I drove into the more narrower the path was. One side was a cliff and the other side was an abyss. I had to be careful.

Finally, I got to the village. I stopped to take a break. I saw a group of children at a local primary school, so I approached them. I talked to them, but no one could answer me, I had to use body language to let them know what am I saying.

Cause that day was Sunday, so nobody there. I saw some adults who were working on a field, so I asked them to led me into the field. Then, a little girl led me to go. She runs quickly and jumps easily through stairs of the field. It was wonderful. That situation like I’m Alice who is running follow a rabbit in wonderland.

When I got there, people were working. They gave a stare. I said hello to them. They did not reply, just point to a older man who was Master of village. I talked to him. – adventure Ha Giang

By means of talking with him, I knew that was Them Van village. Then he showed me the way to get to Xeo Lung village.
Although there was an electric system there, but the traffic still has been poor. I saw 2 girls were pushing a box, so I gave them a hand.
Then they beat a raceme of rice plants into the box. They beat and beat, I saw many rice nuts dropped into the box. I tried to do like them. It was not difficult. There was a girl stood near me and gave to me raceme by raceme of rice plants. They saw I was quite tired, they said something that I did know, then they laughed. I laughed too. After that, I saw some children who ran to catch a mouse. I ran to follow them. I ran to catch the mouse. Finally, I caught it. I gave it to a boy, but he was careless, so the mouse ran out of his hands. We continued ran to catch the mouse again. Everyone laughed when they saw that situation.

A little pretty girl were hold an umbrella – adventure Ha Giang

I took some pictures with them for my memory. Then I waved the whole village to say goodbye, they waved back.

4.6. Day 3: Themvan Village – Xeolung Village – Nanli River

I drove back to army point. That time, I didn’t buy a ticket. The clerk was surprised when I told him that I had come back from Them Van village after following his direction
Finally, I got to Xeo Lung village, the people were drying rice nut at a local elementary school, I went to the house next to there, asked a boy for water. He ran to bring for me a scoop of water which is contained in a pool. I asked him about milestone 428. He showed me.
I followed his direction, when I drove in the end of the path, I saw a T-junction. From that, I could see if turn left I would go towards the west and if turn right I would go toward the Northeast, I could imagine Lung Cu stay near the Nho Que River, yes, here it is.
I drove forward, then I met a man on my way, I asked him about the way to get to Lung Cu or milestone 428. He did not say anything, just point to the right and nodded as a sign to let me know I was on a right way.
I turned right, I asked myself why don’t I see any tourist who goes to milestone 428. I found that time was midday, so maybe everyone took a break for lunch
I kept moving forward, I drove in the end of that path and then I met a three-way intersection again. I stopped to observe the path. I saw many cow’s footprints. The path on right side looked easy to go, so I picked it.
I drove into the narrow and steep trails because I wanted to drive to the north, then I would walk down to the Nho Que River, I would feel better rather than I left the motorbike there without anyone’s taking care.

The path was terrible with a lot of rocks and gravels. It also was dangerous when you drive on that path, you know, one side was a cliff and the other side was abyss. If it rain, it could have rock slide- adventure Ha Giang

From far away, I heard the sounds of cow’s bell, it from the east but I did not see anything. I kept moving on my way. Then I lost into a corn field. I stopped and looked around me, I saw a milestone stayed not far from me. I ran to it. There was a woman who was putting boughs. I went to her. I tried to ask her about the way to go down Nho Que river. She looked at me, gave me an ugly stare, then she yell out and point to Viet Nam zone. I did not understand anything. I just stood there. She kept yelling out at me. It looked like she was trying to warn me should not pass over the Viet Nam – China border. I gave up. I said goodbye to her. I returned to find an another way to go to the north, also downward.

I crossed an another corn field, I saw a canal, I followed it. I passed over some rice fields, corn fields and when I drove in the end of the path, I could not drive anymore. I left the motorbike there, then I went down. The way to get down was so steep and terrible. The soil was easy to slide, the shrubs were busy, I had to be careful. I threw some rocks forward to check for danger. I walked for a distance, then I found it was difficult to go. I tried to look around me, I looked for milestone 428, but there was nothing. I decided to return the beginning spot.

I went back to the place where I had left my motorbike, then I found a path which located in the west. I thought it maybe a way to go down to the river. I decided to follow it. I drove into the west. I turned right, turned left, then I saw the trail. It looked like I got lost.
Taking daredevil, I drove down. Driving for a distance, I found it was wrong, how could I drive a motorbike into a path which just can move on foot. Oh dear. I made a big mistake. At that time, I found I was losing control of motorbike. Turn left, then I take the second step. At that time, I saw my rock below. That path was only used to walk. The motorbike slipped down. I tried to braking, but it did not work. I jumped off the motorbike to save myself. The motorbike rolled down and be sucked on trees.
Oh my god, I almost am died again. There was no wireless connection, today is market fair, so no one was available here. If I carefully asked for direction, I wouldn’t be stacked like that.
I see my problem, thought for a solution. I pulled it up on the ground. It was not easy to do it. When I pulled it up a bit, it got wrong and fell out of my hands. I tried and tried. It took more 10 minutes to pull it up on the ground. I restarted it. It worked. I did not know how strong I was at that time, I felt no pain but still got some scratches on my body. I tried to drive it again, but it doesn’t work. It fell down again. In the third turn, it suddenly gets off and fell down. I couldn’t do anything, just hang on it. Creaturely, I wasn’t be squeezed by motorbike.
I took a break for 10 minutes and then I bristled the motorbike , but it did not work. I tried, tried and tried again.

At that time, I was getting tired. I gave up. I decided to let the motorbike there, then I returned to the village for asking help.

I walked closely to the village, then I met a Hmong boy who were wearing a papoose of corn. I was so surprised, he was just a little boy, how can he wear something which was bigger than him. I was also nervous cause if the fact like that occur again and again, how could he grow up.
He asked me why did I walk? I told him about my journey, about milestone 428 and I was looking for some help. He pointed to the milestone 428 and told me to let him lead me to get there with 300K for a fee. I refused it and said thank him.
Get to the village, I went into a house which lies nearly the local primary school. Cause I was too tired, so I fell down when I got to the house. Everyone was panic.
A minute later, I was a little better, I told them about my problem. After talking, they got it, there were some guys want to help me and they requested 500K fee. At that time, I almost ran out of money, it was 220K remaining.
Finally, they agreed to help me with 200K for a fee. One guy picks me up and drives to the place where I left my motorbike by my guide. On our way, we met a guy were driving a white motorbike, wearing a backpack and bring to him a roll of rope. He spoke up: Your motorbike befell down to the steep?. I didn’t hear clearly, just point toward straight ahead.
He was a good driver, he could drive smoothly on a terrible path with many rocks and gravels. We drove to the T-junction, then we stopped and walked to my motorbike. He told me that path is not for the driver.
Then we discuss a plan. He told me we should pull it by hands. Pull little by little stand use a rock to keep the motorbike doesn’t befall down again. We pulled over a hill. It was a hill remaining. We tried to restart it but it did not work. We took a break.
Sit for a while, he opened the fuel tank cap and blew into it. He told me to restart the motorbike one more time and drove it, he will stand behind and push it. I did. It worked. Finally, we passed over all of the hills and got on the main road. At that time, it had many dark clouds, it going to rain, so I followed him go back to the village.
About 4 pm, we got to the village, the residents were on coming home way, it would rain.

I talked to Mi – the guy’s name, I asked him for some accommodation for tonight, you know, I got hurt, it rained and I could not get back downtown with that situation. He recommended me should stay at his wife’s parents for tonight, just give them some money for food. I was thankful.
It started light rain, people went back to their home, in front of the elementary school, there were 2 women who were hurrying to collect their rice nuts. I ran to them, helped them to collect it and pour it into big bags. We had just finished it, it was heavy rain. I stood in the elementary school’s balcony. There were some kids stood too. They saw some my things, they look so strange to them, so they asked me to buy. There was a boy who was smoking. Oh, my goodness. There was some boys who were ragging another little boy. One of them lifts the little boy by pulling his ear.
For a while, it stopped rain, there were 2 boys and a guy. That guy rented 2 boys to guide him to milestone 428. He was looking for a new milestone, from Lao Cai to milestone 92. He come from a traveling community
Later, Mi called me, he said I would stay at his home tonight. I left my motorbike in his wife’s parents’ house and then I followed him to go to his house. We passed over a hill, his house stays in the hillside. I got into the house, his mother was ill, his wife and two children at the house.
They were preparing for dinner, he left my backpack into a corner, grabbed a chair for me to sit near the fire. I sat there for warm. He gave a hand to prepare dinner.
** Every home has a kitchen. They always have to keep the fire burn. Although the house made from wood and there are many holes on the wall, snake can’t go inside*
Mi is a secretary of the political party. There were 19 party members at that area as he said.
He had a good education. He was friendly.
I sat near the fire, I felt homesick. It was the first time I missed my family. I remembered everything in my journey, I found I did some silly things. How my life would be if I had died in the before the day and that day? How supposed can I die without my dream completing? I saw the fire, saw his family, my heart be to fill up with a lot of homesick and lonely. I took a deep breath and continued to talk with him.

The dinner was done. I had dinner with his kids, his wife and his mother had dinner before, Mi had dinner at his friend’s home. I had pumpkin and some kinds of vegetable like that for dinner. I ate 2 bows of rice and the children ate 3 bows. They looked like so happy.
After that, I sat near the fire and talked to Mi. I told him about my journey, about my situation at that time. He listened to me and then, he went into his bedroom. When he returned, he gave me 50K to fill my motorbike up with gas. I could not say anything. I just sat there and received it. I appreciated it.
We discuss my returning journey. He said I should go to Dong Van for oil first, then take Yen Minh road to drive. The next day morning, his wife would make roll rice for me for breakfast.
I went out to brush my teeth and wash my face before sleep. The water was so cold. Then, I went to bed.

Next page … 4.7. Day 4: Xeolung Village – 428 Border Point – DongVan Town

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