21 N – 106 E Vietnam
Line Hunting Date: March 29, 2006
The short training hunt with minor complication
During a gathering in Hanoi, Jordan and Brad (first-time hunters) decided to go with Ray (the instigator) to a nearby confluence point to find out what line hunting is all about. This particular point located only about 16 km from our hotel, a good training run for the new hunters with the couple hours of free time to boot. We took off in a car arranged by our friend Patrick without reading the reports from previous visits.
The drive to the point was straight forward pretty much followed the main highway to Haiphong after we crossed over the red river. The last 3 km was a small road in farming area and we passed a number of villages and stopped in front of the village gate of Thon Tan Hue with 400 meters left to go.
Request to give up the hunt with 150 meters left to go
The stroll toward the confluence point was most pleasant as we watch local farmers harvesting scallion. One fellow with a cow asked us to take a picture for him and his cow. Just as we reached about 150 meters from the confluence point, our driver caught up with us with a motorbike and told us that we must turn back right away because he was informed by a village official that foreigners needed permits to visit this area. Of course we were not about to turn around with 150 meters to go. We told the driver that we will return quickly as soon as we reached our objective – 10 minutes max to complete the hunt.
Citizen arrest of the line hunters
We did reached the confluence point within a few minutes and it was a happy moment. As we were walking back toward the car, almost near the same spot where our driver tried to intercept us, a gentleman approached us on the same motorbike. He greeted us and started to talk in a somewhat agitated way. The only thing we can tell is that he was not happy. He followed us to the car, and had a heated discussion with our driver. We learn from the driver that he was upset because we have no permit to visit the village, and we have no permit to take photos. Several onlookers seem to find the situation amusing, but we were somewhat uneasy with this rather unexpected turn of events for a simple walk in the field just outside of Hanoi.
Follow me to my leader so you can be punished
This agitated fellow insisted that we follow him in the car to the local government unit – a form of citizen arrest, we presumed. We reached the courtyard of the administrative office in a few minutes. The fellow went inside and brought out a guy who must the real local official. Our driver went and talked to this disinterested official for a few moments. Soon the official guy waved his hand gesturing we can go and left the agitated fellow even more agitated who continuing to argue with the official probably insist upon some punishment for the foreign invaders. Our driver indicating to us that he has taken foreigners to many rural areas and this is the first time someone demanded a permit.
Future hunters be aware – this point may have something special
After the hunt, a quick read of previous hunting reports found similar episode happened to Greg Michaels during the first visit to this confluence point also. Creg managed to take a picture of the person who was harassing his party and it was not the same guy who turned us in. Maybe there is something special or sensitive in this area unbeknown to us. Or it was an old rules from the earlier post-war days that some of the people still taking it seriously. In any event, future hunters should be aware of the possibility of agitated older man who try to protect the national security of Vietnam near this confluence point.
Something unexpected – the best part of confluence hunting
For the two first time hunter, this was a classic introduction – the surprise element. Something unexpected is what made this enterprise more fun, or having a better story to tell later.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 3 – Easy point to reach but risk of getting arrested by angry villagers who still live in the past (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 2– Very pleasant country side (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 3– Rural village near Hanoi (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)