South of Mai Châu the River Mã flows through a karst landscape Leaving Mai Châu the valley is flat and lined with karst hills The last page had pictures taken around the village of Mai Châu. It is from there that one of the tributaries of the River Mã rises. This page follows down the tributary and along the upper reaches of the River Mã itself. This is the principle river of the Province of Thanh Hóa in northern Vietnam. It rises in the north-west of the country, flows through Laos and then back to the sea through Thanh Hóa, a journey of 400 kilometres. Fields ready for planting rice. A brick works... ...sits by the trees across the valley An unusual sight in the area: beef cattle grazing Gentle slopes are well wooded... ...but towers challenge trees, leaving... ...them to cling where they can Treed slopes by a tributary stream A comfortably large tiled Thai house sits amongst trees with a thatched roof just visible in front and to the left of it, below a houseboat on the river's edge with boats waiting More houses along the banks of tributaries. Above some red tin roofs can be seen, and in the next picture... ...asbestos roofs, not quite the same aesthetic quality as in the larger picture higher up, nor nearly as comfortable Fishermen leaving their simple houseboat Precarious river ferry, but motorbikes accepted Ferry, fishermen, and covered boats by the far shore Bamboos are felled and then floated down the river in these rafts. Here, by the chopstick factory, they are left to soak in the water for some months, this acts to preserve the wood A ramshackle view of this highly productive factory on the bank above those rafts. The pile is of the 'knuckles' of the bamboo which cannot be used for chopstick making A fine example of a Thai house which, like... ...just near the village, down this hill ...the above house under construction, is... The sign for the house on the right (Local 'tour' guide) The pleasant modern Thai house which welcomes visitors, the dining area
is below and there is a pond beyond
Centre stage, below stairs, a small child learns how to fold arms - greeting etiquette for the young
A light meal being set out for visitors. The pool will provide the house with fresh fish
Suspension bridge offering one of the few crossings of the river for those wishing to avoid boats
- you might well prefer the boat
Above are two clips of film showing the bridge and a bike (with infant) crossing over it
The decking may have seen better days and...
...possibly the railings might...
...not meet all 'health and safety' standards
The river curving around a shingle beach, small figures of three fishermen and a herdsman
A chair in the clouds with pump and hose - a touch of surrealism
Vietnamese bridges have names, signifying their crucial importance in a land of water. This picture was taken from Na Sài Bridge just beside the town of Quan Hoá
The next page
follows the River Mã up over the border into Laos and then across to the beautiful town of Luang Prabang.
The next page
of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Noumenon'.
Or go to the
of the Mosaic Section.