Child Carrying Baby

Child Riding Water Buffalo

Women Washing Hemp 


I arrived in Sapa feeling like I could live there forever.  I had a huge modern room, which reminded me of a dance studio.  It had hard wood floors, a fireplace, and a desk facing a large window.  The view was stunning with high mountains, a deep valley, and rice paddies.  Unfortunately the sales on the street were too much.  The tribes women old to young constantly pushed their textiles, marijuana and opium.

Fortunately I ran into friends who were trekking overnight through the local villages of Lao Chai and Ta Van, so I joined them.  The land and rice paddies were lush, with every shade of green you can imagine. 

We walked through some muddy and slippery trails down through rice paddies and along a river.  We passed a few young boys standing on their water buffalos backs in the fields.  Two old women were washing hemp threads in a stream.  One had each end and they were shaking it on the water like it was a blanket.

On the trail and in the villages we were still hit up to buy things, but they weren't as aggressive.  The family home we stayed at in Ta Van was our sanctuary and our guide cooked an awesome feast.

On the train back to Hanoi, one man in my compartment spoke a little English.  He was buying bags of apples and each woman who came by tried to sell him more.  It's almost like a game for them.  They barter on the price, then the women would make a pouty face if he said no.  They would keep coming back.  I told him how fun it was to watch the scene and we both laughed each time one of the ladies came by.

I arrived back in Hanoi at 4:15 am and I was surprised to see tons of people exercising and running by the lake.  I decided to do my own stretches and watch the sunrise.  There were groups of people doing something similar to tai chi.  The music over the megaphone seemed horrible until I realize they were counting in Vietnamese and then I practice listening to the sounds.

I broke down and took a tour to Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island, which turned out to be quite good.  We had a small fun group.

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