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Published: March 3rd 2016
Sa Ba 1
A view from our room. No sun today and haze in the hills.
We got up early and separated our luggage so as not to haul all of it around for the next 5 days. Although we had time to eat breakfast, the hotel prepared a boxed one for us anyways. We were first picked up by a 15 seated and driven a few blocks. A bigger bus would never fit in this lane.
Since we were the last to sign up, we had the back row seats. A light snack was served while we made our way through the building rush hour traffic. It was clear sailing along the auto route for the next several hours. I noticed that a few other passengers had internet access. Imagine, I had to travel half way around the world to experience this technological wonder.
The driver made two rest breaks at the same type of super huge way stations we had seen in Myanmar. This one was mostly deserted and construction was on to make it larger still. We had been travelling through the flatlands, intersected by many rivers. Each village, or rather commune, was surrounded by a fence to keep the livestock from wandering and work in the fields was done collectively.
The last hour
Cat Cat Village
A view from the bottom of the hill looking to the hills.
of the trip was up a windy narrow road, weaving its way through the steep mountains. At one point I looked up to see the driver talking on his phone while passing on a blind curb. Time to put on my seat belt. Further on a truck was stalled in the downhill lane, smoke billowing from his breaks. Traffic was building up behind him. There are surely some suicidal/homocidal maniacs in that bunch.
All the villages we have passed in the mountains have been quite small. More like hamlets. I was wondering how a tourist centre like Sa Ba could exist in this environment. Coming around a corner, we arrived at a relatively level piece of ground and the town of Sa Ba. We checked into our hotel (Saab Unique Hotel) and had an hour to clean up and eat before the trek down into the valley village of Cat Cat. Women and children in colourful costumes were everywhere, wanting to get their picture taken, for a price.
The trail down the hill was lined with stalls, some selling beautiful patterned hemp weavings in blue. Indigo is a specialty in this area. We passed a sow and her piglets. I
Cat Cat village. Must be quite spectacular during rainy season.
was distracted by something I saw in a stall and almost stepped on one of them. Piglet patties for supper! We continued down to Love Waterfall. Quite nice but probably spectacular during the rainy season and packed during the height of the tourist season. We started back up but by the time we made it to the village, we were winded. Our guide called for a couple of scooters and for three bucks, we were driven back to town. It would have taken me till past sunset to do it on foot.
My batteries had run out so I didn’t get many photos of Today’s sights. No wonder the batteries are so cheap (2 for a dollar). They only last for about twenty pictures. I tried to score some stamps at the post office. They had none. Maybe tomorrow. I made my way back to the hotel without getting lost. I had been able to remember four landmarks.
After a few hours sleep, Claudette was feeling better. Supper was included in our package. We ate well. The food was good, though lacking in spicy flavours. I had cardamom pork, in honour of the near death experience earlier. I had thought
to sit out on the balcony to contemplate the view of the valley but a heavy fog had rolled in. I had to put on a coat for the first time this trip.
I guess I’ll stay in this evening. In any case, the lady who organized this tour did not leave us with any paper showing an itinerary. We are at the mercy of the various guides. No sample bottle of maple syrup for her!
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