Huong Family Visit



During my stay at Friendship Village I met Huong, one of a group of university students

She's the woman on my right

She emailed me, told me she was going north to Lao Cai to visit her family



So I managed to get myself invited along.


It's an overnight train ride from Hanoi to Lao Cai


There are 4 classes of passage on this train: hard seat, soft seat, hard sleeper, soft sleeper

Soft means padded

We could get only hard seats--and they definitely were that

But my 72-yr-old bones managed to make it through the night


Upon arrival in Lao Cai, we booked a minibus ride to Muong Khong, 



Muong Khong is in an area where many hill tribes (i.e. indigenous) live



We turn up the path to Huong's sister's house



and share our first meal


Dung (Huong's brother-in-law), Chieu (Huong's mother), Tham (Huong's sister), Huong




Dung, Tham, Lee



Lee and Dung



Huong's mother Chieu is currently living with them, a great helper 

Chieu, Dung, Loan



I took a hotel situated on the corner of the town's main intersection

Looking from the balcony outside my room, up that street is the big Sunday market



I returned later to find them hosing down the entire living room

It helps to have tiled rooms with good drainage



After one night in Muong Khong we return to Lao Cai, where Huong's father and other siblings live

First on the agenda was dinner at the home of Huong's sister Thu




Setup is simplicity itself

Spread newspapers on the floor, put all the food out



no furniture, just the floor



and even in this spacious kitchen, with cupboards, sink, and workspace...


...the dishwashing is done out back, in basins on the floor

and when I tried to help, I was politely but firmly told No, this is not men's work



the men gather in the living room



Huong was delighted to see her nieces Chi... 



...and Ngan, a feisty little toddler


After dinner I was taken to a hotel


and the next day invited to lunch at the home of Trong, Huong's father




joined by Tranh (Huong's sister-in-law) and her daughter Anh



and Huong's mother Chieu




In Vietnam--as in the other SE Asia countries I visited--kitchens are most often, by Western standards, quite rudimentary, often primitive


this is a solidly middle class home




but kitchen facilities are not given the same priority as other rooms in the house



and again, cleanup is accomplished with minimal fuss, and is very floor oriented

So after 3 nights in the north country, Huong and I again board the night train and return to Hanoi

And again, on hard seats

But I have a soft spot in my heart for Huong and her wonderful family



Huong's Family Photo Gallery

This gallery is meant primarily for Huong and her family.  It consists of "outtakes" from the above blog segment

Though it may be of little interest to the casual visitor, feel free to browse




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