This week I am in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The area is home to the Bana people. Known for their communal huts and vibrant culture, the Bana people also won a special place in my heart with their warm smiles.
After a long night on the night bus, I headed for the my hotel. When I arrived, I saw that the hotel was actually located within a Bana area of the city, and there were even more Bana villages in the hills overlooking the hotel. The next morning I woke up early, rented a motorbike, and headed for the highlands. Even at 8am, the day was already hot, with a dry wind picking up the red clay and giving the air an orange haze.
As I wound my way up the curves of the mountain, everyone said “Hello!” as I passed. It was a greeting not so much of surprise as of familiarity and warmth, almost as if I were an instant member of their village. As I drove through more and more villages, I began to expect their greeting, and began waving hello to everyone I passed. Once again, no one seemed too surprised by me. When I passed particularly friendly faces, I screeched to a stop, parked my motorbike, and chatted with them. Below are some of my favorite moments.
Official hashtag: #rachelsjourney
View this gallery of pictures on Flickr at https://flickr.com/reachingvietnam