We rode en masse to the border, arriving as it opened, but we were not alone; there was lots of pedestrian traffic going through that border, albeit no vehicle traffic. The majority of people there seemed to be regulars, who presented a passport or ID card, and were through there in seconds. Not so fast for us; we had to carry all our gear and push our bikes, and each of our passports was carefully scrutinized. No problems, just a time consuming exercise.
On the Vietnam side, things were different; much less small holder agricultural activity; it seems like a lot of former fields were falling into disuse. The people are much more outgoing, both young and old. Lots of people called out “hello” as we went by, and wanted to talk to us. One thing that was the same; lots of kids riding to school.
The houses are significantly different. There is no one design that predominates. Many of them are much more colourful, and the newer, fancier houses have peaked roofs, or at least peaked facades.
We also saw a few catholic churches in the villages.
There are occasional advertising boards with traditional propaganidistic illustrations on them, which we did not see in China.
A long ride, with a late start because of the delay at customs. Just before lunch the thermometer on my bike was reading over 35 C. We had a lovely coke break at a little store along the way. This lady was very popular because she kept her drinks in a freezer turned down low.
And, for readers in New Zealand, a picture of Jim crossing one of the rivers en route…
Fortunately, over lunch some clouds moved in, moderatin the afternoon temperatures. We rode through a mining area and past a coal-fired thermal plant under construction before reaching our destination, which turns out to be a small regional town with limited facilities. No more fancy “business” hotels like we had in China; apparently the Vietnam hotels are going to be more basic.