Monday, September 21, 2009

21st and 22nd September - Sa Pa

On Monday 21st September Tal and I embarked on our big trekking day. 12km in all which is less than I've done before but when we saw the rain in the morning we knew we had a bit of a challenge ahead.

Hung met us at the hotel and he still had not been paid his wages by his boss. He and I went to bargain for a raincoat as mine had been lost during the trip. I managed to get a real North Face rain coat for 12 pounds... result. It rained all day on the trek and the rain coat did it's job very well.

It's really funny how trekking works here in Sa Pa. You get these shadows that follow you on your trek. They're the local tribe women who want to sell you stuff but they just sort of hang around you and it takes a good 30 or 40 mins of them following before they finally go for their sales pitch. So you kind of stop to take photos and they stop too. You then set off to walk again and they follow about two paces behind you.

From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


The scenery on the trek was amazing.

From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


From Hanoi and Sa Pa


It was such a pleasure to be out of a big, smelly city like Hanoi and into stunning, mountainous countryside in Sa Pa. Tal stopped to take pictures of almost every animal she saw. I'm starting to get a little scenery exhausted after 7 months of it but it's great to travel with someone who still has that excited energy that I had at the beginning of my trip.

We met some real characters on our walk including Ha (yes her name is Ha). Ha is a hill tribe girl who claims to be 16 but looks more like 12. She is hilarious. Brimming with confidence she answers my 'How are you?' questions in 4 languages (English, French, Spanish and Italian), only falling down on German and refusing to speak Vietnamese because she doesn't like to speak it.

She's very cheeky and we met up with her again when we got back to the town of Sa Pa after the trek. Tal bought a bottle of red wine which we shared while looking over the landscape from the hotel terrace. It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

I then went out for a walk and bumped into Ha who walked and talked with me for a good 40 mins. She was being her normal cheeky self and wanted to see me juggling so I did a bit of showing off for her. We saw her quite a few times afterwards while having dinner in the town.

This morning, she popped in for a chat and I teased her about her Japanese boyfriend who she claims she doesn't like... It's such a pleasure to mix with such characters. I feel very honoured that she would want to spend her time with us instead of earning money from selling her bags and bangles.

This evening we travel to Hanoi, sad to be leaving such a beautiful town behind. Sa Pa is definitely a place to visit in Vietnam.

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