We left Ninh Binh in the morning and began our journey to Mai Chau. We stopped before descending into the town and had a great view of where we were going! Once we got into town, we had lunch at a homestay. Mrs. Xuan made the best food and we were lucky enough to eat here for lunch and dinner over the next few days. After lunch, we checked into our bungalows which were super cute and right on the edge of a rice field!
Once everyone was checked in, we took golf carts into the village. This was the cutest village and the people were so nice. We met several ladies who made scarves on their own looms. We watched these ladies make scarves and they were even nice enough to let us try! We were all terrible at it!
While watching one of the women on the loom, we also got to witness and experience one of Vietnam’s dying traditions for women – black teeth. Decades ago, this was a coming of age ritual for girls to indicate that they were ready to marry. To keep the color, the women chew on betel nuts which stain teeth reddish brown-black. It was fascinating to see and learn about – it’s definitely not something I had ever seen before. Plus, growing up in a society where people often bleach their teeth to get them as white as possible, it was interesting to see a completely different take on this. It’s not a common trend in Vietnam any longer – they’ve adapted to the Western influence of white teeth, so once the older generation passes on, this custom will as well.
After the village, we drove out to the fields to take some pictures. It’s such a beautiful area and perfect for taking pictures! We went to the appropriately named Sunset Bar to watch the sunset and it was a great view of the valley. While the sun was setting, we watched the valley thicken with smoke. Every night around sunset and into the night, everyone burns their trash. There aren’t really garbage dumps or garbage trucks or any real organized ways to get rid of trash, so people just burn it. It was kind of cool sitting on this patio and just seeing wisps of smoke starting all around the valley. Plus, the drinks and the company were great!