Friday, January 28, 2011

Vietnam- Sapa Sapa Sapa

We arrived in Sapa around 7am and the group decided to all stay at the Pinochio Hotel. On our way to the hotel we were surrounded by Hmong tribe women who wanted to sell us their textile goods and kept asking us how old we are and what our names were and where we are from. They all spoke amazing English I was impressed. Liz, Chris and I ended up booking a 3 bedroom and we chose to be on the top floor so we could have the beautiful view of the rice fields. We all got into our beds and decided to nap.

I had issues napping and gave up so I went downstairs to join Thomas and the 2 other girls for breakfast. We walked to a French bakery called Chocolate and on our way there we were surrounded by the Hmong tribe women who were constantly trying us to buy jewelry from them or other goods. Luckily they don't go into the restaurants so once we were in Chocolate we were safe. We all ordered croissants and tea. It was delicious.

I had left Liz and Chris sleeping and I figured we only had one day here so I went to the tour company that the was recommended by the guys from Holland and booked us a tour of the rice fields. After I booked the tour I realized that we only had 30 minutes to get ready and mind you Chris and Liz were still asleep. So I ran back to the guesthouse ran all the way 6 flights of stairs and swung open the door and luckily they were awake getting ready. I was so out of breath but managed to tell them what was booked for the day.

**Apparently Chris and Liz had woken up earlier and Chris asked Liz where I was. Liz responded "knowing Carrie she probably already had breakfast and booked us on a tour." Hehe yup that's me!

The tour consisted of Greg and Cecile, Thomas, the one of the 2 other girls, Liz, Chris and me. We all met at the entrance of our guesthouse and were greeted by our tour guide Chi who took us on a hike around one of the Mahung Villages.  Chi, was a local from the village and she described the differences amongst the tribes. They wore different clothes and spoke a different languages and that was how you determined who was from which tribe. The villages were located within the rice fields. Chi also told us that the rice that is locally grown is used within the villages and none of it is sold for profit.

As we walked Chi showed us the daily activities of the village and took us to the school as well. We were also being followed by Hmong tribe women again trying to sell us goods. They were hoping that if they helped us hike during the tour that we would by from them at the end. What amazed me the most was during the hike all the women wore were these tiny plastic sandals and we were all struggling in the mud with our regular sneakers. They had this walk down to a T. For lunch Chi made us traditional noodle soup with chicken. I was not able to finish mine because I decided to eat a power bar and Chris called me out on it that it would ruin my appetite. Shut up Chris!

After lunch we continued to walk through the fields and stopped at a waterfall....the view was unreal. You can see the villages and the rice fields. At the end of the tour I felt obligated to buy things from the tribal woman who helped me during the hike. There were some muddy areas and she would put her foot down and make me walk on her foot so I would not slip and fall. I ended up buying 2 purses from her.

That night we had dinner as a group. I ordered pasta and we all tried Dalat red wine from southern Vietnam which they served cold. After dinner we all went back to our guesthouse and all ordered banana pancakes with chocolate sauce. Chris decided he wanted to be different and ordered something that looked like fried bananas. It was gross.

The next morning Chris and I decided to rent a motorbike and check out the rest of Sapa. At the motorbike place they gave us a map and I was in charge of the map. After everything was sorted we had to head to the petrol station to fill the tank up. Chris wanted to look at the map and I realized I had left it at the motorbike place. Give me one responsibility and leave it to me to mess it up. I go to Chris "Promise not to hate me" and he goes "What did you do" and I said "I forgot the map" and he just laughed at me because I acted like a little kid who got in trouble with their parents. He forgave me and luckily this other couple came to fill up their tank and gave us an extra map. So its all good!

The mountain views were amazing and we ended up meeting Thomas, Cecile and Greg at the waterfall stop. They had already finished going up the waterfall so Chris and I decided to head up and check it out. Chris was nice enough to treat me to the waterfall. The waterfall was pretty and we took some pictures and decided to get back on the bike and check out the mountains. We drove a little further up and decided to stop and take some photos. Chris and I were irritated that there were soo many power lines covering the mountains. We then started to talk about life and our goals and what we are looking for. I wanted to learn more about Chris and get to know him.

We looked at the time and decided to head back into town to check out the local market. While walking around looking for a bite to eat Chris and I saw a cooked dog. Yes people they eat dog here. Chris wanted to try it but there was no way I was going to do that. Chris and I settled on chicken noodle soup. After eating we waited around for our ride back to the train to Hanoi. We said goodbye to our friends and Liz,Chris, and I were getting on an overnight train back to Hanoi. Luckily we had hard sleepers this time. When we got on the train we played a game of cards. It was a game that Chris had learned from Israelis. I was too tired and it took me awhile to grasp the concept of the game and Liz and Chris decided to make fun of me for it. Whatever I can take it. Unfortunately Liz couldn't stop coughing and wasn't feeling well so we did not get much sleep even though we had beds this time. I was just looking forward to going back to Hanoi and head to our next destination.... Hoi An!!!

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