firstly... that' a pic of Hanoi, the blog thing doesn't have a pic of Sapa and i've not put mine on the PC yet...
ok the 8 hour overnight train journey was 10 hours, and we went cattle class haha! 6 of us in a bunker with a slab of metal and a cushion no thicker than an inch, quite funny to be honest. wasn't entirely sure about staying with 4 perfect strangers, only because one said he coulodn't speak english after trying to have a convo with me, then they were obviously talking about me and when i said so to little old reynolds he whipped around and said 'no we're not'. Never trust a liar. he did however like waving at reynolds when she couldn't sleep, she doesn't find this as funny as i do, but then i was snoozing away on bottom bunk. Admittedly hugging my rucksack and boots under pillow, but i can't complain! haha!
When we got to La Coi we took maybe a 40 min bus up the mountain to Sapa, where we opte to switch our homestay for a hotel, i think we made the right choice, t was freezing and we had an electric blanket! it also seemed a good iea when we saw a weather eport for the evening there and it said thunderstorms, didn't fancy a woden or a metal hut for that one! the room in the hotel was fab, ensuite, massive beds, the view - absolutely amazing. the trek was an rganised one with all meals included so we went for some breakfast and met our guide. she looked pretty scay to start with, still only up to our shoulders but still scary! she turned out to be great though.
firstly we took a walk down into th nearest village of cat cat and took a look around a traditional house, in the op left corner theydried crops as their kitchen is in the bottom left corner, which pretty uch consists of fire and pots and an old style kettle. on the left they have the sleeping quartes upstairs and he bathroom downstairs. in the middle on the ground floor they have a table at which they burn incense and pray. The giude showed us around the house and showed us the musical instruments the men play, dumb and dumber had a little go or 2, we rocked! she walso showed us how they dye their fabrics by cutting the leaves from plants, crushing an soaking them til the water takes the colour and then soak the clothes for an hour, leave them to dry for an hour and repeat the process for a day or 2, then they leave them out to dry for 2 months so that the colour stays put (they don't have mordents out here)
We saw a man carying bamboo for the women to weave the baskets from and women carrying greenery to feed the buffalo (there were a lot of buffalo). We then went to see one of the hoses where they put te tourists up, much the same bt with a corn grinder and we hear that some f them have a pool table. in this house there was a boy with a bbq selling skewered chicks (un?)fortunately i wasn't hungry. she also showed us how they remove the husk and blanche the rice using what looks like a big wooden spoon witha hammer on the end. the spoon fills with water and as the spoon goes doen the happer come up, when the spoon hits the ground it empties and the hammer drops down and crushes the husk, the rices is taken out and filteres nd then stuck where the spoon empties in order to wash it off.
Then we went to the silver waterfalls, these were very prety but theres not much more you can say about waterfalls...
We made our way back up to the hotel and stopped at her friend's shop (i'm sure the kids were watching He-man). Oh yes, don't be foold, they're tribes living in mountains but they have TVs and mobile phones and all sorts of modcoms! we were chatting to a couple of old lady locals who kept telling us how beautiful we were because of our fair skin (they should see us today), before carrying on back up the hill. Our guide seemed impressed with how easy i was finding it (again she should have seen me today!) and asked if i walked a lot at home, like hiking every weekend, i just tried not to laugh. we were chatting about the different ways we lived and about the various politics of our country, she seemed a little shocked that they still rob from the rich to give to the bone idle here... go dbless Labour and all that they haven't done in the name of standing still... (btw i read on times online earlier that tony blair decided to tell the pope that catholic views on gays are wrong? Let's see if Tony Blair manages to change a longstanding religion... I miss my rants about politics!).
When we got back we had some lunch ad a rest, we had wanted to hire a moto but it was so misty we didn't fancy getting lost and not finding our way back. we used the evening toresearch the next couple of legs of our trip.
Today we went on a proper mountain trek, with mud, streams and big drops, i'm starting to wonder what i've got myself into with the inca trail... we also saw the village of the people we were walking with yesterday, they're very sweet and there's a young girl (well she's 16 but she looks about 10) that reminded me v much of Rhianne, we stopped and had some lunch there and it was very good, i still can't manage more than half their portions though. the rest of the walk waseasy, all on a track, it's just a shame that our suncream that we had to buy locally turned out to be more like moisturiser, red necks, arms and backs of hands, made for a lovely train journey back! we got back just under hours ago and couldn't wake the hotel guy up, when he did finally wake up he told us we have to wait til around 8 to get into a room so we're just passing time on here, haven't had much sleep hence the report on yesterday (noted as today above) is so short, hard to think atm! This evening we're heading off to Laos, we hear the journey can be a bit of an adventure so i'll let you know later!
take care all (oh and feel free to leave me some messages on here!)