Bac Po

Here we are in Cao Bang, and for the next 3 days. This is the last gasp before we head towards Bai Tu Long Bay (similar to Ha Long but less polluted and touristed). Today, Khanh took us to Bac Po, which is where Ho Chi Minh entered Vietnam and stayed in a cave, safe from the French. It was interesting but not necessarily worth the drive. But interesting nonetheless. What I found more interesting was the terrain.

In 1979, the Chinese invaded Vietnam, in the hopes of taking some land in the north while the Vietnamese were busy subdueing Pol Pot in Cambodia. They came across the border in several places, one was Lao Cai, where there is a river crossing. We were there a few days ago. Another was here, in Cao Bang or actually at Bac Po. The mountains are very, very steep and I have trouble imagining the Chinese pouring across the border in this mountainous region. They only stayed 3 months before being pushed back by the Vietnamese but all the people here are very impacted by the invasion and talk about it more than they do the American War! Which is kind of nice for a change.

The Vietnamese are distinctly cautious with respect to China and well they should be. They watch carefully the Taiwan/mainland issues, and are nervous. Vietnam is a small country and could lose if the Chinese decided they wanted this territory. Unlikely because the world opinion would sanction them, I think. Anyway, it is rather interesting.

Tomorrow we go to a beautiful waterful on the border, few tourists go there and we are looking forward to it.

Best to you all,
Barb

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