day one hundred and thirty-eight: february 14, 2016:

Remember the bánh cuốn we had in Hanoi? Well, when we told Quang we had eaten it in Hanoi, he told us that we had to have it Đồng Văn because they made it the best. In Đồng Văn, it is commonly made with egg and served with a noodle soup and type of sausage. We had been looking forward to trying this for breakfast and were not disappointed at all. It was waay better than the one we had in Hanoi.

The road between Đồng Văn and Mèo Vạc is a short, windy road leading up to Mã Pí Lèng Pass, one of the most scenic drives of the trip. This 20 km length of the Road of Happiness was built by what was referred to as the "suicide team" over the period of 11 months and was the most treacherous mountain pass in Northern Vietnam before the road was built. This region was simply stunning. I'll let the photos take it from here.

Upon arrival in Mèo Vạc, we stopped by the cattle market, but most of the cattle had already been sold and there were only four remaining cows that looked rather sad, for good reason.

We also got to see some men haggling over small pigs and chickens who also were not very excited at being sold.

After cruising the market, we ended up at a large field area where all the locals were celebrating the new year. In the center of the field hundreds of people were crowded around a tug of war competition going on.

 Surrounding the field were tents with different activities going on like bamboo basket making, weaving and a demonstration H'mong traditional home where we were welcomed inside by a man with a very red face. He sat us down at a small table and served us some "happy water" out of a bowl with a wooden ladle. He explained to Quang that the corn wine he was serving is aged underground for at least two years and is only drunk during the Tết festival each year. Well naturally, we had to drink with them as they celebrated the new year. We also tried some fresh corn meal and tofu and vegetables as well.

Next stop, Cao Bằng.