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vrijdag 20 maart 2009

Sa Pa

Sapa is a village not to far from the Chinese border. The main attractions are the mountains and the local minorities that live there (e.g. the Black H'mong, Xa Pho, Muong). We took the local night train at 22h, in order to arrive at 6 in the morning in Lao Cai (situated on the Chinese border almost). From there we took a van to Sapa.

We did the traditional tour of three villages in order to visit the minorities. The walk in itself was very nice. Together with two other couples we walked in the mountains, saw a few local houses, and passed by rice terrasses. As for the minorities, it was more a case of us being watched than the other way round. The moment we arrived we got surrounded by people (mainly women) trying to sell us jewellery, bags, and clothes. The sales tactic is very simple. Be persistent. If you keep offering, they've got to buy something. Or so they thought.

We were supposed to trek through part of a bamboo forrest. One of the couples was Vietnamese. The man wore suit pants, his girlfriend wore a miniskirt. The walk through the bamboo was to difficult for her, forcing us to cut the funnest part of the day short. I hope she got blisters.

The second day we stayed near Sapa for a shorter hike up the Dragon's Claw mountain. Here it is possible to follow a stone path, making the climb less arduous. Since it was very hot, that worked out just fine. The same day we took the slightly more comfortable night train back to Hanoi.

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