Thang was a sensitive young man. Probably the only Vietnamese I’d come across who admitted to liking the remote tribal people of Tonkin in northern Vietnam. “They have their own way, but most Vietnamese do not understand,” he grumbled.
Thang’s admission followed three days of bone-jarring agony in a Russian jeep, scuffing sheer mountain ledges and sliding down scree slopes. After a further 10-mile hike to sup tea with a tribal elder surrounded by children, pigs and chickens in a dusty, dark wattle and daub hut, Thang thoughtfully concluded: “These are good, simple people but Vietnamese and Chinese still think they are savages.”Follow witleyboy