The Upper Valley of the River Mã

River distant boats and karsts in the background. South of Mai Châu the River Mã flows through a karst landscape Flat fields with line of karsts behind. 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 with brick works beyond them. Fields ready for planting rice. A brick works... Close-up of brick works. ...sits by the trees across the valley Several dozen cattle grazing in large flat area. An unusual sight in the area: beef cattle grazing Hillside covered in trees. Gentle slopes are well wooded... Tower karst with river in foreground. ...but towers challenge trees, leaving... Tower karst in background, river shore and boats in foreground. ...them to cling where they can Tributary with trees down to the water's edge. Treed slopes by a tributary stream House amongst trees with boats and house boat at river bank below. 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 Houses on one side of a tributary, trees on the other and a karst beyond. More houses along the banks of tributaries. Above some red tin roofs can be seen, and in the next picture... Looking down at the river with a track leading off between woods to a group of houses. ...asbestos roofs, not quite the same aesthetic quality as in the larger picture higher up, nor nearly as comfortable Two men in small open boat on river with covered boat beyond by the shore. Fishermen leaving their simple houseboat Narrow open boat being paddled with three passengers, one sitting on a motorbike. Precarious river ferry, but motorbikes accepted View across river with boats on river and at far shore. Ferry, fishermen, and covered boats by the far shore Stone like plant in pot with tendrils. 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 Sand-bed with a score of stone plants. A ramshackle view of this highly productive factory Go to another page. on the bank above those rafts. The pile is of the 'knuckles' of the bamboo which cannot be used for chopstick making Thai house with verandas and tiled roof. A fine example of a Thai house which, like... Road running down to houses, tree covered hill in the background. ...just near the village, down this hill Wooden skeleton of Thai house with workers and piles of wood. ...the above house under construction, is... Sign for the Home Stay House - with a typo of 'four' instead of 'tour'. The sign for the house on the right (Local 'tour' guide) The home stay house part thatched, part asbestos roofed. The pleasant modern Thai house which welcomes visitors, the dining area
is below and there is a pond beyond
A small child standing in the middle of the area under the house trying to fold its arms. Centre stage, below stairs, a small child learns how to fold arms - greeting etiquette for the young A table laid with a meal for two people. A light meal being set out for visitors. The pool will provide the house with fresh fish Light suspension bridge above the river. Suspension bridge offering one of the few crossings of the river for those wishing to avoid boats - you might well prefer the boat line Above are two clips of film showing the bridge and a bike (with infant) crossing over it Tower karst with river in foreground. The decking may have seen better days and... Tower karst in background, river shore and boats in foreground. ...possibly the railings might... Tributary with trees down to the water's edge. ...not meet all 'health and safety' standards River curving round beach four figures dotted. The river curving around a shingle beach, small figures of three fishermen and a herdsman Looking down to water's edge with chair in water on which is a pump. A chair in the clouds with pump and hose - a touch of surrealism Grass-like plant surrounded by sea of  purple plants in the shape of Vietnam. 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 Trailers... Village house in north eastern Laos. The next page follows the River Mã up over the border into Laos and then across to the beautiful town of Luang Prabang. Bronze bust of Peter Scott at WWT Caerlaverock. The next page of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Noumenon'.
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Saturday 29th August 2020 Murphy on duty to this site

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