Lara's Blog

Monday, 25 December 2006

Merry Christmas from Sapa!!

Sapa is great!!
We left Hanoi at about 8pm on Sat night. Had an overnight train to Sapa. Bit scary in the cabin but we were able to lock ourselves in so it was ok!! We arrived at 6am and had a windy bumpy bus ride to our hotel for about an hour.
Our tour guide was a local girl, (20 yrs old) and she took the four of us for our trek. Four 12 yr old local girls followed us - each of them picked one of us to talk to and make things for. THey probably looked more lik 8yos though cos they were so tiny. It was very cute! They have their spiels: "where are you from? what's your name? how old are you? so young! how many brothers and sisters do you have? how long are you in sapa?" They followed us for almost the whole trek. "My" girl was named Man. She had 5 sisters and 1 brother and went to school mon-fri. They made us grass horses, crowns, hearts ... Very chatty and cute. They also made us promise to buy things from them when we got to their village. Which we were happy to do, they had put in the hard yards! Good entrepreners. Along the way we were also given sugar cane to try. That was nice, juicy and sweet but not sticky like sugar.
It was great to see, beautiful scenery with huge mountains, terraced with rice paddies, forests of bamboo. Laurelle almost fell in one! only her shoe copped the mud though. Lucky! And then of course the animals - little pot-bellied black pigs (at first we thought they were all pregnant but the piglets look the same!), water buffalo, ducks, chickens, dogs etc. The people are mainly dressed traditionally (hopefully photos to come). We were shown the school, and the plants they use to make indigo dye
We trekked about 10km all up.
Today we walked down a steep mountain to get to a waterfall. On the way we were taken through someone's house. They have two areas for cooking, one for the family and one for the pigs! About 9 ppl lived in the house we visited but i only saw one bed. I guess they sleep on the floor and pack the beds away during the day. There was corn drying hanging from the ceiling and lots of sacks of rice in the roof. THe doorway in was so small we weren't sure if we'd fit!!! Everyone is tiny, and it makes the children look younger than they are. the village was called "cat cat" which means beautiful. It was so steep - and we were offered to walk back up, but for 1000 dong we opted to catch motorbikes back up!!!!! Best dollar i ever spent i think. Although my bike broke down part way up so my driver hit the bike with a rock and it seemed to work after that...
We wandered around the markets for a while. Lots of fresh food - saw a chopped up dog. All that was left was his head and feet. Bit gross sorry :) We tried some local food including sweet potato fritters, fried spring rolls (kinda), and dough balls with sweet stuff in the middle.
Its hard when the local women and girls all want you to buy things from them, and you want to buy from everyone! but you really can't.
Now we have another overnight train tonight back to hanoi. Arriving at 5am - which will be fun since we can't check in to our hotel til 12pm!!!!!!!!! ah well :)
Hope everyone is having a great christmas!


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