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Sapa Travel Blog

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so hung around hanoi with my 2 day packs full of (too heavy) electronic gadgets that i didn't want to leave with the dodgy hotel receptionist and full of (unnecessary) clothes for the 3 nights away.

later i walked to the hanoi b train station were the train to lao cai was leaving. this smaller train station is not that tourist friendly as there is no indication of when your train leaves but the sight of other confused westerners was enough for me to sit down and wait for the train. well, first i had to visit the loo, 'how much?' yielded '2000!' i replied 'no, 1000, ok?' which was returned with a big smile... of course it was 1000. i love bargaining down the cost of going to pee for 7 us cents, just out of principle

found my train - boarded - snapped when i found out that the bottom bunk they sold me was actually upper bunk (don't really know why i snapped, because it doesn't matter at all in a soft sleeper, but it was just to make a point i think hehe) the train guy was so frightened i would kill him he sent the security guys into my compartment some minutes later probably to check if i organized a weapon in the meantime hehe

sleep was short but ok, cleaner than china, but the train is much smaller and everything more cramped than in china... plus points to china for once! hehe

at 5 in the morning it was time to get up and stumbling out into the arms of a million minivan drivers who want to take you up one hour to sapa. found the guy from my hotel but had to wait 30 minutes for the next train to arrive to fill up the van... vietnamese standard procedure

drove me right to the cat cat hotel, which is great! well you have to walk about 100 steps up to your room but it's worth it! amazing view from the room and restaurant over the rice-terraces and mountains around sapa. 10 dollars for the room with valley view, sat tv (chinese pirate smart card broke down though), and, for the first time since cusco (i think), a bathtub!!! luxery

was dead tired from my trip so at first i just walked around sapa town. felt like hiking a bit later though... quickly bought a sandwich in the baguette & chocolat branch here (mmmhhh yummi!) and walked down the road to sapa. i don't know what i was thinking exactly but after 1 or 2 hours of walking down the valley i didn't really think about how to get up again. but anyway, tried to find the village but didn't... actually i think i did but it's kinda hard to spot that those 3 houses are actually a village hehe

found a nice lunch spot at the river, started to bite into my sandwich and saw 4 kids running to me from the distance. of course they came begging for food & money, not before making their faces dirty and put on their 'starving african child' face. it was such an obvious act

next kids didn't bother with the sad look and just went for 'MONEY MONEY?'

that was a good time to start the journey up... thought about taking a motorbike up (about 25'000 dong) but the guy insisted of arguing with 'i'm villager!!!' that i didn't bother and walked back up.... which was quite tough actually as the sun decided to come out right on time

i managed, and spent the rest of the afternoon half dead in my bed

not much else happening.... went quickly into town for dinner but wasn't that spectacular.... ah yes, nice village-dress wearing girls wanting to sell me weed and other drugs which i found a bit disturbing

the tourist crap scene is quite big here... good old chinese
/peru mass selling in cute little villager dresses is the main thing in sapa

flickr set: sapa city
L_ombre_jaune says:
Ahhhh, Cusco!!! Great city! Enjoy the "Bia hoi" close to the star park,people square whatever(on the way to baguette n chocolat). it's 3000 Dong a glass and helps relief the sore calves after a 3 day trek! Have a good trip!
Posted on: May 12, 2007
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photo by: Paulovic