There’s not much about Son La that puts it on the map, but it does serve as a transit point between Hanoi and Dien Bien Phu. It sits on a high plateau and the surrounding scenery is impressive, however there is a shocking amount of deforestation that has occurred. There is an old restored French prison where people resisting the colonization of Vietnam were imprisoned. The surrounding region is home to some 30 different cultural minorities, the Vietnamese government held little sway over the district until the 20th century.
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
We had been booked into the Trade Union Hotel and I found it hard to adjust to after the wonderful experience at Mai Chau. The building was very ‘communist Chinese’ in appearance and the room was marginal at best. I must admit I got pretty cranky about it for the first while and there was no one to complain to except Anil and David. I felt they were charging Hanoi prices without providing Hanoi services.
After a simmering for a while, I settled down long enough to notice that there was music coming from an attached auditorium. We wandered down the hall and came upon a state musical competition. We slipped into the back of the darkened room and I have to say my mood was greatly improved watching the young students, dressed in a mixture of traditional and modern dress, performing songs on the stage.
Morning couldn’t come soon enough; we were up early and on the road after a pretty dismal breakfast in the hotel restaurant.