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Published: January 12th 2015
We got up this morning and had brekkie that was included with our accommodation. Great brekkie of banana pancakes, – not as good as Cactus pancakes on Langkawi though! Toast, croque monsieur, fruit – local mandarins and bananas and fruit juices.
After brekkie we headed out and were immediately joined by 3 local women, once again wanting to sell us their wares. They followed us for about 20mins. We walked upon some local fresh produce markets where we saw locals purchasing their fresh fruit, vegetables and meat – including dog. The produce all looks so fresh. We continued on through more streets of Sapa just wandering and taking looks at all the shops, eateries and hotels. There are loads of hotels/hostels to choose from in Sapa. A lot of choice, that is for sure. We headed slightly out of town down a road we decided to follow. We couldn’t believe the workmen/women we saw along the way. Using jackhammers with no earplugs or masks. Asbestos just lying around. Digging dirt out the side of the hill. Sapa town is hilly all over so you are constantly walking up and down hills, up and down steep stairs or staring over the
edge of what seems like a cliff edge and constantly paranoid that Frankie is getting too close to the edge!
We definitely consider ourselves “watchers of people and happenings” and this town has no shortage of being able to do this. Although eyes are constantly on us here by the locals.
It really felt quite warm here today, so ended up taking our jumpers off for a while. Dani and Zav bought some bags and a hat for Frankie along our walk. We came across the tour company I had come across online back at home called Sapa Sisters. They are an H’mong owned women’s business that employ their own women to do private tours to their villages and other tribe’s villages. Very happy to use their services and will find out tomorrow how it is.
The next place on the list to visit here was Indigo Cat, a local lady and her Swiss husband who own an ethical shop. I had also found them online and was interested in this place as they do sewing classes and was hoping that Dani and Zav would be able to do one. Unfortunately she isn’t doing them at the
moment as she has a baby and very young toddler. She said that she will be starting them again in the future so maybe when we’re back we can look at this place again. Zav bought a DIY bracelet kit that she can do at her leisure when we’re home.
We had walked for about 4 hours before we stopped to have lunch at a café named Baguette and Chocolat. It is a café/restaurant that trains local disadvantaged teenagers that have had a hard time. They learn to cook and other sides of the business which is a great community business for Sapa. I had a local pork dish, (can’t remember the name) Stu, Zav and Frankie had filled baguettes and Dani had Cannelloni. I should mention that Sapa has a huge French influence from times past so there are baked goods like baguettes, croissants, tarts, cakes etc on every street.
Upon leaving the café we were crowded by women wanting to sell their goods to us and I mean crowded! I have never experienced anything like it before. It is really hard trying to say no or to choose an item when you have 6-8 women surrounding
you, wanting to sell you the same thing. We ended up buying some more bags and bracelets. They kept getting cheaper and cheaper by the women that followed us for the final 5 minute walk up the hill to our hotel.
Back at the hotel we had a chill out for a couple of hours and reflected on our busy morning out on the streets of Sapa.
During these couple of hours the temperature had dropped a good 7 or 8 degrees. The fog had also come down quite low and there was misty rain all the way for the approximately 10 min walk to dinner. We had earlier booked dinner at The Hill Station as it was a “must see” place out of the Lonely Planet guide book. It is a restaurant that I assume is totally aimed at tourists but uses all local produce and recipes that are unique to the area. It did not disappoint at all. For approx $40AUD we had a feast on Ash roasted sweet potato, stir-fried susu (choko) with garlic, stir fried giant bamboo sprouts, banana flower salad, fried village chicken and wild ginger, slow cooked Ta Van pork with special
herbs and fried spring rolls with trout, corn and mushroom and of course rice. We also each had a drink included with all this.
The walk back to the hotel was cold with misty rain but beautiful all in one. Today had been a real eye opener and just enjoyed everything we saw.
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