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Dien Bien Phu, VietNam

Written on: Monday March 21st, 2011

A journal entry from: S/E ASIA March, 2011

We left Muang Khua at 4:30am, crossing the Nam Ou (river) by a small canoe-like river-taxi in the dark, to the 6 hour bus ride over a mountain pass on roads under construction all the way to the Viet Nam border, and on down into the city of Dien Bien Phu, Viet Nam.  While it was another slow, bumpy ride, it was beautiful as the sun came up and we rose above the valley fog onto the mountain ridges with the fog-shrouded valleys all below us, and even watching the magnitude of the road construction -mile after mile of hand-labour, rock by rock building retaining walls and drainage ditches was fascinating.  And on the top of the pass we left Laos, crossed the big, formal, Viet Nam border station, and descended into the broad valley of Dien Bien Phu.  This is a small city of 72,000 which is famous as the site of a battle that was truly decisive in the Indochina war when the French colonial forces were roundly defeated at the hands of the Viet Minh in May, 1954 and leading to Viet Nam's independence (prior to the "American War" but that's another sad chapter).  We enjoyed walking around this friendly city (very little English spoken, but everyone tries to greet us with a "Hello" and we in turn smilingly greet "Sinchow".  We climbed the stairs at sunset to their great victory monument in the centre of town to enjoy the view of the whole city, valley, and surrounding mountains. 

 

From Donna on Mar 25th, 2011

Hello B & D, Sounds like the north was challenging! You really do keep on the move!! I love the blog and pictures! Hey, today is Friday Mar 25 here. Wondering how you are doing. We heard there was an earthquake in SE Asia. Thinking of you. Love D