Trip Start Sep 25, 2010
Trip End Oct 11, 2010

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Packing so much into every day and all brand new experiences. We left the chaos of Hanoi on Sunday night and travelled 9 hours by sleeper (thats an oxymoron) train to Lao Cai near the Chinese border for a 5.30am start to the day. Bananas and Pringles for early breakfast and then a 1 hour bus trip to Sapa way up in the mountains (and clouds). After a real breakfast and still looking forward for the fist shower in 24 hours, we headed off in the bus again to visit a Hmong village where we were met by 50+ very keen Hmong women who accompanied us (three to each person) for a very chatty walk in the misty villages. When we got back to the bus the hard sell started and by this time they knew everything about us.You've got to be strong to say no, so that proves just how weak we are. So loaded with pressies for all our blog friends :)  we headed back to Sapa to our room in the Mountain View Hotel. Magnificant! We the view will be when the mist lifts. Free time in Sapa this afternoon being accosted by more vendors before our 6 hr treck to another remote village for a homestay. Brenda bought new hiking sandals today $30US - reckon they would be $150 back home. 
Our free time in Sapa was spent wandering the markets, a massage for $6/hr and caught up with some of the others for Hanoi beers, and dinner and Hanoi beers again while our Egyptian /Australian friends Amir and Sylvana introduced us to the Shisha pipe in a middle eastern bar – great preparation for the 6hr trek tomorrow – NOT.
Today off to our homestay at Ta Van. 6 hours of trekking thru the mud up hill and down dale, with a Hmong helper on both hands and a 10,000dong bamboo walking stick. Impossible without these!
Whoever fell had to "catch a frog" by with NO falls. Finished up totally covered in mud, thick and caked. Feet totally immersed under the mud.
Homestay was all of us in one Zoy house, wooden beds, mosquito nets, singing ourselves to sleep, karaoke style after many bottles of rice wine - happy water!
Funny night,including the bleeding, concussed Anh, a pool hall and lots of home-cooked Zoy food - a banquet in fact. Lots of wake-ups for pain relief, 
Amir was told to just stay awake all night to stop his snoring like a crazy pyjama party. Matt was left feeling a little guilty after throwing  Anh up amongst the rafters and splitting his brow.
2nd day turned out to be ANOTHER trek, which 6 of us opted out of, thank god! It was harder than yesterday. After bussed back to Sapa where 5 shared each hotel room for 4 hrs to shower, re-group and prepare for ANOTHER overnight train trip tonight! 
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Diane on

It was so lovely to here from you so quickly. I am so glad you are having a great time. The Photos are beautiful and the photos of you both together are just lovely. I love hearing from you both, please keep sending the info.
Love Diane xx

Laura on

Shisha pipes hey...?! You two are a worry xx

Azzos on

All sounds great...especially the bit about pressies!
Lots of good info and insights into a different world. keep it up.

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