Mai Chau is a delightful little town surrounded by a steep limestone karst which seems to epitomize northern Vietnam. The people are incredibly friendly, and have surprisingly good English. I suppose that even though this little town isn’t a big tourist destination, it is close enough to Hanoi that there is enough opportunity to interface with westerners that English is frequently spoken.
Once settled into our guesthouse, we took a walk through the night in pursuit of food. Our day had been frantic enough and we had lost enough time getting out of Hanoi that we had not stopped for lunch and were famished. The city seemed to be closing up, however. We found a woman cutting pineapple on the street, and decided to go for some. The lady had Bree pick a small pineapple, after which she got to work with her machete.
After cutting the peel off, she began slicing spirals into the pineapple. We had seen this done before, and figured it was just for decoration, but finally realized that she was cutting the hard brown things out of the fruit (what are those things called, anyway?). Afterward she cubed the pineapple, through them in a bag with some salt and chili powder (yes, chili powder), shook them up, and handed them to us for a mere 800 VND or somewhere around $0.40. Amazing.
The pineapple gave some serious kick as we continued our persuit of food. We finally found one final place open on the edge of town, and we were served a massive meal of rice, questionable meat, questionable greens, questionable soup, and peanuts. The peanuts were amazing, and the rice was good. We struggled to choke down the rest. Food is food, though.
Our non-time-adjusted selves by this point were completely beat, so we wandered our way back to the guest house and called it a night.