Bac Ha - Dogs in a Basket and Vomit on the Bus

Trip Start Dec 02, 2008
Trip End Jan 03, 2009

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Lao Cai - Hanoi Train

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Monday, December 8, 2008

We set the alarm to get ourselves ready for a trip to Bac Ha market - apparently one of the best in the area. After some rushing about (laundry not ready and bus was leaving in 15 mins) and changing buses a few times, we were off.

At breakfast Ophelia had had a few sips of tea and we think the milk may have upset her tummy, because about 40 mins into the 3 hour journey, she vomited. Quick thinking me, I pulled off her jumper and had here throw up in that. There was little else I could do. I dont think many people actually noticed to be honest, we were up the front.

The guide was great with the kids. Once Ophelia felt better and we changed her (brief stop at Lao Cai to drop off bags) she sat up front with him for a bit. The sceenery was incredible, the hills, the villages, the fields of crops. All just so amazing. The drive was long and bumpy, lots of sharps turns and sudden stops. The roads, cars, motorcycles and drivers here astound me - how they dont crash is beyond me. The trees and vegetation near the rough roads is funny too, they are literally covered in traffic dust with little bits of green sticking out.

When we got to the market we piled out of the bus and began to wander. The Flowere H'Mong are not as pushy or talkative and while we did get stares and laughs, we were not stopped as often. Jaymz felt a bit overwhelmed by the crowds so we split up and I went off in search of food and whatever else I could find. I did see (and smell) a lot of interesting things. There was a basket on the ground with what looked like at least 5 puppies in it. Dogs are everywhere here and tend to be quite friendly, but most look rather hungry and unwell. They aren't treated as pets.

Everyone from the bus met up at for lunch and we got a chance to chat to some lovely people. Liverpudlians who live in Australia, and a Greens branch member from Hawksbury NSW.

From lunch, we were herded to a local Flower H'Mong village and visited a man's house to see how he lived. It was a little strange to walk into someone's house and take photos - Kythera and I didn't like it one bit. Couldn't imagine foreigners streaming into Finlay Street and taking photos of our living room... wouldn't want to imagine it.

After the visit to the village, we were taken back to the market and we thought we'd get another chance to look at the market as we'd only had an hour. No such luck, we were waiting for some French people. We waited for ages before they turned up.

We were then driven back to Lao Cai (where the train station is) and fed. No straight answers from anyone and frankly this is where I got really annoyed. Tours seriously suck. After dinner, we left and did our own thing and waited for the train.

In the train we were supposed to have a top bunk and a bottom bunk but some Russian backpackers gave us their bottom bunk on the other side so we both had bottom bunks. Was very nice of them. We settled down and soon fell asleep. We were woken many times by screechings to a halt (did we just hit a water buffalo?) and eventually we got to Hanoi at 5am, determined to start a new adventure - this time on our terms.
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