Trekking in Sapa - Travel Blog -
Trekking in Sapa
The bus trip was comfortable and I slept fairly well. After a stop in Lao Cai one of the guys next to me wanted to get off but I had already spotted the parking area where I had been before. He checked his phone map and said that we were right on the Chinese border. Right I said so you can choose to continue sleeping as we still are 33 km from Sapa and that will take at least 45 minutes as it will be slow going up the mountain pass. We arrived in Sapa at dead on 7 am. I knew the position of the hostel and walked towards the centre where most hotels in Sapa are located. The extremely friendly manageress of the hostel, a lady of around 35 with two small children immediately pulled up a chair for me and said "sit please you must be tired." She had a dormitory room but as two people must be still sleeping she gave me another room . You can shower there and have a sleep, you look tired, she said   I entered  the room had a shower and did some computer work. I only had one day here in Sapa so needed  to make the most of it. To find the little girls would be great. I lost the one and only telephone number I had.  

As expected there were hardly any souvenir sellers in town as according to Eddie nearly every is involved in rice planting. Just outside town I hired a scooter for the day and decided to explore the villages. I may see one of them or otherwise not. Also I wanted to find Eddie's place in Ta Van village. The roads had improved although some sections were still in very poor condition. The first turnoff down the valley brought me to Lai Chai. I knew that Lanh lived there and found the house from memory. Lanh was not home but working the fields planting rice I was told- just further up the road. Lanh's grandmother looked bewildered and probable asked who I was and what I was doing there. I pulled out my laptop and showed her the pictures from two years ago- the penny dropped. The house adjacent was where Mi had grown up. Her mother recognized me and asked if I wanted to look at the house. It was just the same as next door, earthen floor and looked like a museum piece of a house out of the 1500’s I said good bye and went down the trail through the valley . Hundreds of people were working planting rice in the fields so I did not try to have a look for Lanh but just continued along the road to Tavan. The road has improved and now consist of a narrow concrete strip of about three meters wide . Until …I came to a lone concrete mixer. Wow they do this all by hand with a small, mixer. Well suppose if you can do 5-6 meters a day than one year later  you come up to 2 km and a year later you hit 4-5 km ,I suppose that is how it works.

I found Eddie’s bamboo bar and his house where he lives and uses as home stay. His brother in law runs they place but I don’t think that that is a very successful operation as he does not speak English, Tourist provide the income and if they have a beer or two you need to provide some entertainment. Anyway I had a beer and played with Lucky the Dingo/Sheppard dog. I rang Eddie who was surprised I rang him from the bar. Eddie misses Lucky (the dog) and whistled loudly trough the phone. Lucky got up quickly and ran outside. Poor dog, he was confused by this.

After having given an excellent toasted sandwich I continued and rode as far as was possible . The valleys are all terraced and the scenery is amazingly beautiful. Rice is being planted everywhere so you can see work in various stages; ploughing is done by small machine or oxen. I returned to Sapa with a sore bum as the scooters seat was hard. Some new travelers had arrived and some others who were staying there just arrived from town . I always try to connect with them as it enriches my  life . Today I met a young couple who had met while traveling; the girl came from Germany and the guy from Israel. On the bus they met a guy from Algeria and had spent the day together. Good to see that for travelers issue being racial, political or historical are of no interest. A guy from France past my way and I handed him my Vietnam book. Another person made happy. I spoke to Swiss lady who was travelling alone and was leaving for Hue by bus via Hanoi. Was Hue interesting she asked. Yes very, I said but it depends what you interests are. Well I am interested in war history, she said. Well than just walk along the bridge with the arches and count the bullets stuck in the steel, you could do to begin with. Travelers are all nice to each other once you are 'Home” in you hostel again. Seeing them on the street most look the other way or give you a blank stare, I understand that as I want to look at local things and not at other westerners when I am on the street.

Spent some time planning for tomorrow, I am apprehensive and don’t like to travel alone to China but as before when I faced Cambodia head on it was easy and gave me a good feeling afterward.