“You sit here” the bus conductor screamed at me for the third time. His face snarling – he was even kind enough to spit on me a little. Our eyes met, and battle commenced.
The morning cold sliced through me. My fingers quickly froze while fumbling helplessly with the petrol cap. I stared with envy at the locals lining up with me – all of whom seemed to be wearing giant oven mitts that came up to the elbows. Their faces portraying the comfortable glow of people perfectly content with their hand warmth. I began to drool a little – evilly.
Ha Giang province, 320 km north of Hanoi, conjures up images of the mystical. Towering mountain passes, endless valleys and wondrous colors depending on what time of the year you visit. The province shares a border with China, and is one of those ‘politically sensitive’ areas – making it relatively untouched by the sweep of mass tourism across the country. It has become known as Vietnam’s final frontier.