Platoon eat your heart out!!

Trip Start May 18, 2005
Trip End May 18, 2006

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Sunday, June 19, 2005

Hanoi is a bit hectic so a change of scenery was in order. We took a night train Lao Cai, a small town about 3km from the Chinese border, north of Hanoi. Then we took a minibus to Sa Pa, a little village further south hidden away in the middle of the mountains. It is a stunning place with those paddy fields that are cut into the mountains like steps, right on the edge of the rainforest. Looks like something out of a Vietnam war movie. Our guesthouse was able to arrange walks for us to see some of the minority peoples who live in the jungles and valleys(some of the walks were a bit treacherous, through steep muddy paths and paddy fields) . It was amazing. They all have their own little villages and speak their own languages and dress in traditional clothing. Thier houses are like something from a thousand years ago but they are all healthy and happy with what they have. They have no money really but they live off the land and have all they need. They rarely get to see Westerners but even still they were able to speak to us in some broken English, French, Italian and German. Puts us to shame really. Walking through the villages you can't help but feel awkward after what happened here during the war. I'm surprised we were even let anywhere near the place. They are good people.

Even though they live off the land and all that there is a small western influence creeping in. They try to sell you traditional clothing and jewelry that they have made, which is nice but you can just see it getting out of hand very soon when more Westerners come.

It was a nice change of pace to see something like this, very relaxing (except for the walking parts!!) We're back in the hustle and bustle of Hanoi now, arrived back thismorning after another night train. They are a great idea coz you save a nights accomodation costs while going to your next town. But you really get much sleep!! Its so feckin noisy!! But sure when you're on holidays who wants to sleep?
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