We have arrived in Sapa, a beautiful village high in the mountains near the Chinese border. We have come to soak up the beautiful views of terraced rice paddies and witness the hill tribe people living in traditional ways. There are many ethnic minorities here including the Black Hmong people, the black and red Dao, flower H'mong and more. We encountered some of the women on the Black H'mong while getting off our bus and who were lovely but persistent in having us buy something handmade from them. Here they use traditional indigo dying techniques and there are beautiful designed items like scarves and bags. They followed us to our hotel asking questions in English while they sewed and walked at the same time. Even after a rest at our hotel they were waiting for us. Eventually I caved much to Chris's demise and have a beautiful indigo scarf now.
We trekked three kilometres downhill to the gate of a local village called CatCat where several families live in traditional homes. Down we went past rice paddies and pigs, ducks and water buffalo winding our way thru the village. Kids ran around without pants on feeling safe in their homes while parents sold their wares, dressed in brightly coloured garb. We found ourselves at a waterfall with a variety of shops and began our trek uphill. Sweet relief came near the top of the hill where two young men offered motorbike taxis back to Sapa. The humidity here is high and we were drenched from the trek, so the experience of flying up the hill on the back of a bike was cool and exhilarating. We ended our evening with a soak in a wooden tub with local traditional herbs and a massage for about 15$ each.
Today we are unlucky with the weather which is very wet and foggy. We hope it will clear up but are finding it difficult to see the views. So we'll take advantage of the lovely little town, the good coffee and some pho!