Watching TV in Sapa

BETTER THAN A MUSEUM?Travel isn’t a full-time deal unless you let it get out of hand. I find — whether I’m in Yakutsk, Sliven or Bac Ha — I end up turning on the TV a bit, if there’s one available. Coming into beautiful, cool, mountainous Sapa — exhausted from motorcycle failures, overnight trains and a week of Hanoi heat — I turned … Read on

Backroads Mishaps en route to Bac Ha

I’ve long been saying that in Vietnam anything’s possible: where there’s a will, there’s usually a way. I may need to revise that after a disasterous two-day trip to Bac Ha, a minority town of H’mong people near the Chinese border, an overnight train trip north of Hanoi. Most people come this way to Sapa, a mountain valley town of 1600m — facing … Read on

It Takes Five Days to Love Hanoi

Or One Glass of 15-cent beerIf you look at a world map and think a bit, there are very very few countries, where you have more than one major, world-known rival cities that divvy up political, cultural and economical duties over the centuries. France has Paris, England has London, Greece has Athens, Mexico is dominated by Mexico City, Argentina by Buenos Aires, Turkey … Read on