heya all, im on a v dodgy keyboard so excuse the spelling mistakes! hehe. so i waited til 1am in Yen Bai for the overnight train, found a cocktail bar to dwindle the hours away! and then got a taxi to the train station and train left at about 2am eventually! it was disgusting,thought i was going to have to stand all the way but luckily found a seat and had all 3 of my huge rucksacks on top ofme the whole 5 hrs! not much sleep was going to happen, the guy next to me had a kid on his lap and fleas..nice. it was pretty smelly and v crampt,felt abit sick really coz also hadnt slept in the day so was missing out on this nights sleep.oh well all part of the experience! finally arrived early morning into Lao Cai train station and got a taxi for 40mins to Sapa. i was shattered and falling asleep in the taxi all the way despite the horrific drivving!! lol. Sapa is so much moretourisdty,lots of westerners here and lots of retauarants selling english type food, grabbed somebreakfast and then had a wander through the markets and shops in Sapa, its actually smaller than i imagined and most stalls all sell the samethings. its sad how touristy its become, theres loads of the black Hmong tribes people here, but they have all learnt the english to say 'buy from me' and they hassle alot. in the piccys on facebook ive uploaded u can see they still wear the traditinoal dress though which is cool. but they seem to breed like rats, and follw anynoe western like the pied piper! there are lids as young as 5 with babies on thier backs, v sad, the women are having kids at the age of 13 and there are girls everywhere,v sad. coz it seems the only way they get clothes or money is thru hassling tourists to bvuy their handicrafts. had a tuna sandwich for lunch (somewhat a novelty after too many days of non stop rice rice rice!!) then i went back to the hostel in the avo for a sleep! i didnt realise quite how tired i was until i woke at 7pm !!lol. oh dear! met up with someof the others at bout 8pm and had somedinner and drinks in the Red Dragon english pub in Sapa! hehe. its funny to find english food out here, was nice but imactually looking fwd to getting back to the vietnamese food! its much better than their mock english food, and v overpriced! but the chicken burger was nice none the less! lol. sunday was spent wandering through Sapa a bit more and then trying to dodge the rainstorms, had a massive power cut and thundr and lightning, was v scary all day. nothing like english storms! i was soaked and had to spend most of the day indoors! Tomorrow we set off for our trek to the Hmong tribes village of CatCat, so i will put on my muddy trekking tousers and shoes and leave my vanity behind!! hehe. will update towards the end of the week once im back from the trekking week, coz we will be staying with the tribes people in the mountains so no such thing as internet there! nor showers dfor that ma\tter!! hehe. take care, love melly xxxxx
So Im back safely in Sapa internet cafe! lol. VERY achey but pleasantly surprised at how far I can walk in 35oC heat! hehe. Monday started with a trek to the Cat Cat village which was very pretty, Sapa is a beautiful mountainous area and so the views were out of this world, unfortunalty hilly views like this mean that much uphill walking is to be done! most of the way to Cat Cat was downhill so relatively easy, except on the knees! We reached a beautiful waterfall where we stpped for a bit of lunch and admired the views, took piccys etc like proper british tourists! Im not so keen on the fact that Sapa has definatly been changed due to tourism. Its so beutiful, but yet in comparison to the remote areas we;ve just been to it seems far too commercialised in a weird way. Too many westerners! altho nothing like benidorm (!) it just seems so touristy compared to Yen Bai where no noe had seen a white british person and they stared in amazement. Its cool to see the differences though, instead of always following the tourist trail. Anyway, im wittering on about nothing lol, so we walked back uphill all the way fromCat Cat back to Sapa village and prepared for a much longer and harder trek the next day.
Tuesday we woke early and after a hearty noodle breakie we started our trek into the mountains, we had a tour guide who would break off bamboo sugarcane on the way for us to suck on for energy, was actually reallynice although I hate to admit that seeing as Im supposed to be off studying dentistry in Sept!! lol. oh well a bit cant harm huh?! We trekked for hours that morning before stopping for lunch and the heat was pretty unbearable, and coz im taking doxycylin antimalarial tablets my skin is far more sensitive to the sun so was burning up! not good! We visited 3 different villages of 3 different hill tribes- Black H'mong, Dzay and Red Dzao. The view of the muong Hoa Valley was spectacular - a mix of rice terrace paddy fields and mountain forest. The hill tribe girls helped us most of the way esp across the river, but got slightly annoying always saying 'buy this' hehe. that is how they make their living, coz their mums would ar\rather they sell things to tourists than go to school which is a bit sad in my eyes :( we stopped for lunch late in the avo when the sun had peaked and had omeltte (kind of) to pack in the protein i guess!! lol. we finally arrived in the evening in the Hmong tribes homestay shack where we were to stay the night. It felt good to get rid of my heavy backpack and hot walking boots..eww. Had a cold shower and spent the eve playing cards in the candlelight and had a typical vietnamese rice dinner cooked for us. Some other girls were staying with us so was cool to meet them - an american and 2 israeli girls. Because it was so dark we went to bed so early! about 9pm! lol how sad! but we had an early start the next day and there wasnt much else to do in the pitch black! It was a terrible nights sleep though, cockroaches in my bed, rats scurrying past me and a birds nest in the ceiling, that was the worst of it, but too many nature noises to even contemplate sleeping soundly! oh dear, so it meant along evening staring at birds flying into and out of their nests, whilst the guy next to me snored peacefully...how did he manage that?! lol
Woke early for pancake breakie, quite sweet for 6am(!) but surprising how when ur hungry u can manage mix of banana, chocolate sauce and honey shoved into a pancake! made a change from noodle soup breakie! Said godbye to the other girls we had met and started the days trek, this time uphill most of the day and even hotter day than previously, even at 7am it was roasting! my sunburn wasnt taking kindly to it. We wore bikinis under our trekking gear coz we were trekking to a waterfall which we could swim in so the straps rubbed soo much it was painful! lol. after much mountain climb and more hill tribe hassling to buy things, we got to the most stunning waterfall , the piccys dont do it justice, it was sheer rock fall and stunning clear water, we sat on the rock at the top before making the long climb down to the base to take a dip. i really felt at one with nature and that had to be my best day so far, it was so peaceful and a million miles away from 9 til 5 work and exams etc. it felt v surreal. todays lunch was a noodle and egg soup, was bland but filled a hole for the last leg of the afternoon. The trek back to aother homestay tribe family was long and hot that avo, but the scenery stopped me from being a moaning melly! lol. Again that night stayed in the mountain side shack with the many animals (!) and had a candlelit dinner of beef and rice. That night i somehow managed to sleep like a baby and ignored any bugs crawling on my face, I was so shattered! Amazing moutnain air and tired thighs can make u sleep in the weirdest of places!
This morn we had another pancake breakkie and set off for the final days leg of trekking. It wasnt so hot and most of it was in the shaded forest which my sunburnt neck appreciated. Its been quite gross tho without showering and having to trek with sleeping bags and clothes on my back all the way for 3 days but so worth it. this part of vietnam is out of this world for scenery, amazing.This avo we arrived back at the hostel we;re staying in Sapa and had a well deserved shower and rest! Tomo we head back to Hanoi on the 10 hour overnight train journey again and stay in Hanoi over the weekend before heading onto Halong Bay for next week.
Will update soon with morenews and piccys, hope everyone is ok, keep in touch i love to hear ur messages and news. loadsa love melly xxx