Last week I was up near the Vietnam-China border, in Lao Cai, a town better known as the entry point for the mountainous old hill station town of Sapa than for being anything whatsoever on its own. Lao Cai isn’t a tourist town. Most travelers pass through on the bus or train and go no further than the station parking lots, there only long enough to scuttle from one air-conditioned mode of transportation to the next. I was there for a grueling two days, battling bad weather and shifty-eyed smugglers and unhelpful border guards. All for a story on border trade between locals in Vietnam and China for The New York Times. You can read the story in the link. And here are some image outtakes.