Flat out- to Sapa

Trip Start Feb 10, 2014
Trip End Mar 08, 2014

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014



The weather in Hanoi can be very cold.

"Cold" is a word definitely missing from my wish list as I hate it. Hanoi was cold and it rained, I made arrangements with the Hostel to leave my bike there incl. most of my gear and decided take a bus north instead.  My destination was Sapa to see my friend Eddy of which I will tell you a bit more later.

Sapa is a tribal area where you can find several minority people, Black Hmong, White Hmong, Red Zhou  etc  all wear their own traditional type of clothing. The way to Sapa around a 10 hour journey . Last night I took the sleeper bus instead of the night train.   The bus company's mini pickup busses will pick you up from any hotel and transfer you to the larger bus taking you directly into Sapa. Sleeper busses have three rows of narrow beds stacked two high. Usually,  I head straight for the back as the seats/beds as they have a bit more space During the night drive I noticed that some of the roads were covered with an inch  of mud / slush and that it was getting  colder outside. I am glad that I decided not to ride especially when I arrived in Sapa were ice was visible on the side of the road and a steady drizzle made me feel like getting out of there as quick as possible , the cold hit me right through to the bone. I had met another traveler going in the same direction which provided the opportunity for somke conversation and exchange of thoughts. A third traveller had arranged a pickup from the bus station which came in handy and soon we all  squeezed into the car and headed for a hostel in town. I had decided to stay in town and catch up on some sleep, however the urge to go to my friend Eddy overtook my desire for a warm bed. First I headed for the warm French bakery in the main street for breakfast and a coffee.

 Eddy lives in the Village of Tavan about 13 km away. So how to get there?

From here I could rent a scooter for the day (they are only 4 or 5 dollars per day)

From what I remembered between Sapa and the village of Tavan I would have to ride over very bumpy and muddy roads. All my clothes were left in Hanoi so it would be a problem if I arrived covered in mud, I choose the alternative and decided to walk the 13 km which took me  about 3 and bit hours walking slightly down hill along the road and the track into the valley below. In the end I found that all the roads had been repaired and were in excellent condition (for here).  Eddy saw me coming in the distance and raised his arms as I did. Ever seen two grown man cry when they see each other?  I only saw one, but bystanders saw two. Clearly we were Very happy to see each other;  much had happened last year which had created a strong bond between us.. Ok first things first- Where is Tommie!
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Ab Brielle on

Petje af Richard. Ik ben jaloers !! Mooie foto's. Ben benieuwd hoe het verder gaat en hoe het met Tommy is. Goeie reis verder en veel plezier.

Eddie on

IT is wonderful to have Richard around again!
And even better....he Will stay here longer. Richard just leeft by motorbike to take the nightbus to Hanoi and pick up his motorbike. After that he Will ried back the 250 Miles up mountains and stay with us.

Rob on

Hello Richard,

Great story, as Ab I am growing more jealous every day, would love to travel Vietnam one day in your company. Say hello to Eddy from me ok?

Enjoy your stay in Sapa!

ted wesselius on

As cold as it might have been there, the story is heart warming. All the best dear friends. Wish I could join you.

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