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Monday, August 1, 2011

High up in Sapa

The night train was comfortable, and I did an abridged neb session so as not to disturb Pedro and his girl, the Spanish couple sharing the cabin with us. It was about 5am when we were woken up by knocks on the door, marking our arrival in Pho Moi - right on the Chinese border.
Large green mountains around us, the buzz of typical railway activity, and in a sleepy stupor we ended up in a mini bus with other Vietnamese people. It drove us high up the green mountains to Sapa, a small But bustling town situated at 1600m. Sapa is one of the main market towns in the Lao Cai province, where several ethnic minority groups such as H'mong, Dao (Yao), Giay, Pho Lu, and Tay live. A crowd of traditionally dressed locals crowded the bus and followed us to the hotel.
All we knew was that we had 2 hotel nights and one 'home-stay' night here. I needed to do some meds and was hoping to get a hotel room.
Turned out we had to start hiking to our homestay at 930am and had to stay in the very dingy hotel restaurant and eat.
We quickly repacked our bags and left the wheeled weekend bag at the hotel, me carrying the absolutely bare minimum of meds.
The same crowd of local women and children were still waiting for us and with our guide they walked with us to the home-stay. Walk was great, as was the home-stay. the sales-pitch of all the locals and their babies and children was also great. We bought numerous bits and pieces of handicraft we didn't need. There were lots of rice paddies and lots of creeks, lively views and Vietnam Telecom/power poles and wires.
Doing good meds in the village was also minimal, but I coughed/expectorated plenty on the trail! Ree and I did keep up well with the small group of walkers. There were about 16 travelers that converged into the same hut with us.
It was a stormy night and we didn't sleep very well as the old tiles threatened to blow off the bamboo hut along with the rest of the structure.
In the rain we all decided to take a shortcut to avoid the worst mud and terrain. Late afternoon, via a waterfall for
lunch, we returned to the modest hotel in Sapa.
As typhoons were flooding cities in Vietnam we were saved as we were in about the only spared corner of the country.
Today we have a rest day and tomorrow we hike a little more and catch the night-train back to Hanoi.
Glad to be back in hotel room where I can empty my treatment bag on the bed and return each potion and device into the bag after using it. I needed a good session or two.

3 comments:

Mistress Dini said...

Hi Wally, well done with upkeep of the blog, you are always so dedicated. Your writing is OK but beginning to sound a little oxygen deprived so take care and remember to breathe and cough a lot darling. Missing you guys. x

Walter said...

Funny you should say that, Sapa is 1600m above swale el!! I would've been more deprived than usual there!!

Walter said...

Plus typing on a recalcitrant iPhone 3 doesn't help!!

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