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Published: March 31st 2010
Sapa is a town with a small village feel and characterized by rugged mountains and numerous rice paddies surrounding it. Minority tribes can also be found here like the Black Hmong and the Red Dao, who mostly because of tourist growth, travel from their villages to sell different trinkets and try to make a living.
I took the overnight train from Hanoi to Lau Cai. There were six beds in my berth and when I awoke a bunch of Vietnamese were watching me sleep. I yelled out "Good Morning!" and then threw off my blanket. From Lau Cai I took a transport directly to Sapa and checked in at a dormroom. The three others sharing the room were Lyndsay, Erica and Anna, whom I had been expecting to see here. Wanting to make the most of the day I woke them up and said we should rent motorbikes to explore the surrounding countryside, especially since the day was clear which can be rare in Sapa at this time of year. Two of them agreed, and after grabbing some food, we went down the street to rent our motorbikes.
The girls had never ridden these before and I knew I
would have to go at a slower pace than I normally would. After they got the basics down, we headed to the petrol station and then drove out of the town to the country. We went along the mountainside being careful to go slowly as to avoid plumiting off. We drove through some flooded roadway and got our shoes soaked and then reached a village before moving up through another mountainy area. We continued rising, stopped to interact with some kids that came up to us, and continued on until we realized we were all low on fuel and would have to head back eventually. I got quite ahead, and realized the girls were far behind so I stopped and waited. The waiting got to long for my liking and assuming the worst I sped back up to find out what was going on. Some guys sped by and asked my where I was going, I told them I was waiting on some friends and they continued going. Then soon after I saw the girls and Erica looked freaked telling me some guys had blocked her off as she was coming down saying she had to pay for some ticket
to be up there in the first place. She got freaked and took off and ran into Lyndsay who was also waiting not too far along and then Lyndsay kept her cool and managed to sare them off by saying she wanted their names and numbers if they were going to pay anything. We made it back to Sapa although while I was trying to take a picture as we almost arrived my bike fell over and one of the mirror's smashed but it was only three bucks to replace. We went out to a restaurant later that night and ate loads.
My next two days were spent hiking up Fansipan, and when I returned it was a terrible and bitterly cold day but I still walked around Sapa for a while and got some good shots of the market and some of the locals. The rest of the day was spent trying to warm up back in the hostel and recovering from Fansipan since my legs were very sore.
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