Published: March 26th 2008March 10th 2008
Buy MY STUFF!!!!
This gorgeous little girl wouldn't leave me alone, she wanted to me to buy her stuff. When I said I wasn't going to buy anything but thank you, she demanded to know why not! She was hilarious, but I didn't need any more braclets.
On your travels you meet so many people and you make so many friends, some you travel with for a while and some you just meet once; one particular friend that I had made while in Halong Bay was a Dutch Guy from Amsterdam called Arne. We had decided to go and see Sapa together. The day we were due to head off to Sapa, he got the worst news that anyone could get from home. One of his bestfriends had passed away in a car crash.
To say that he was devastated was an understatement. My heart went out to him because there was no way that he would be able to make it to the funeral and there was also no point really, he would be miserable there for two months before he could go back to work (it had closed for renovations), so he made the hard descision and chose to stay in Vietnam. I really feel that it was the best thing to do, although a really hard descision to make. It must have been so hard for him, because the only person that he could talk to was me and I didn't know
Wonderful, luscious, green, misty Sapa.
his friend so couldn't share in his grief. All I could do was be there for him, listen and hope that I was of some support.
It really got me thinking...you really don't know what is around the corner and it is important to let the people you love know it. Also when you travel it is easy to forget that life goes on at home. I feel that perhaps you can be a bit selfish when you are so far away and forget that everyone at home is still dealing with the same crap day in day out, just wanna say to all the people I care about...I love you all. If you you ever need to talk, email me, I can get to a phone so easily. I will try and keep this as up to date as possible so that you can share in what is going on in my life, but I also wanna here from you!
Anyway, I guess I should tell you about my time in Sapa. Considering what had happened, we actually managed to have a good time. We arrived in the early morning after a sleepless night train from Hanoi.
She was so gorgeous, but she didn't think that she was, because she had lost her eyebrows.
We were so tired we just went with any mini-bus driver and of course got ripped off to the tune of tripple the amount we should have paid...you have to be awake no matter what the time in Vietnam! We got to Sapa itself at around 6am, it was cold, wet, misty and muddy. All the hotels were still closed, so we waited with sweet coffee until they were open and booked into the Mountain View Hotel which is owned by the first English speaking guide in Sapa, she had married a westener. There may have been a view but I couldn't see anything with the mist, but it was still a nice place and dirt cheap.
That day was spent meandering around the markets, being harrassased by lovely village girls, wondering down the road and catching up on some much needed sleep. Oh and I forgot to mention, I had a tv in my room, such a luxury so got to watch some films!
Next day we booked in for a 1 day trek with some Swedish girls that we had met in Hanoi and bumped into again. We were brought by mini-bus lower down the mountain
Yes they really do not waste food and eat every part of the animal. I think that it is the best way really, if you are going to kill an animal, you should definately waste nothing.
and then we had to trek from there. When we got out of the car there were loads of people standing around. It turns out that a truck had run over a little boy and he had died. It had happened the day before but they had to leave him there overnight until the police/doctor could come....I just can't believe that it took so long, the poor boy's parents. Was probably the worst thing that Arne could have seen all things considering. We moved on quickly and began our hike down the mountain. It wasn't too bad but the weather conditions had made everything muddy, making it really difficult for me to keep a grip in my runners. Needless to say I ended up on my arse!
We got to go to three different villages, the first one was a bit of a dissapointment as they were more like houses, they had satelite tv and everything. We then climed up to another village which was really authentic and brilliant to see, the people lived with their animals and only ate food that they had grown and harvested themselves. They did not come out and try and sell us things,
We walked to many villages and met some ladies along the way.
quite the contrary, they actually all hid in their houses until we left. After that we went to a hot springs, I didn't have any swimming gear with me so I sat and chatted to our guide. It was the best part of the trek for me, I got to hear all about her life, her dreams and aspirations. She was a year older than me and hoped to marry soon, she said she had gotten countless offers from Westeners but declined because her parents would dissaprove. It had been a hard year for her because three of her families water buffalo had died last year because of the cold, that meant that she had to go and help them with the harvest as well as being a guide. Also two children had died in her village because they had been wrapped up too warmly/tightly on their mother's back. What a horrific thing for the mother to have her children die on her back. It makes me realise that although tourism is killing off their natural identity they do need it, so that they can survive if a crop fails.
After the hot springs we were given the option to trek back up or to get a moped back up. I opted for the Moped, I know you are probably saying to yourself lazy bitch, but seriously, could have killed myself with the slipyness of the whole thing. Myself and Arne(who had ridiculous shoes too) managed to organise mopeds and had the ride of my life. It was just so amazing, the mist had cleared as we made our way skyward and I was able to look back on the vista. The road we were travelling on was in varying stages of completion so for parts we were on tarmac, then stones, then mud, it was a really thrilling ride, but thanks to the skill of the driver I got to my destination in one piece (even though I was sure that I could get the smell of booze eminating from him-bit disconcerting). I played a game of pool on the funniest pool table I have ever seen, it was in bits and all the balls were so dented. scraped and chipped that when you hit them they zig zagged all over the place. I was actually winning! Maybe thats what I need to play well...our game was cut short when the girls arrived and we got the mini-bus back to Sapa.
I was a mess, covered in mud, so when we got back from our trek I had a badly needed shower, before we headed out for a bite to eat and got our train back to Hanoi. Only spent a couple of days in Sapa, I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful green ladscape, the wonderful village girls with their great sense of humour running after me tickling me and the wonderful spirit of the place.
I know that it would seem like I am being really morbid and going on about death alot in this entry, but its not like that at all. These are just the things that I experienced and are as much a part of my trip as the good things that you hear. Afterall, death is a part of life...thats the way it goes.