Braving the mud and lost panties in Sapa
Trip Start Dec 22, 2010
7Trip End Jan 21, 2011
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Arriving in Sapa we are greeted by a little village with beautiful colonial arcitecture
Yaa takes us trough mud, fog and rain the first day and she also has her husband cook us a phenomenal meal in their hut. The following days we walk, slip, balance and straight up climb in steep muddy terrain. There is no mercey. We pass old men and women. Children running after us, waving and shouting Xin Jao! Hello, hello!! Chickens, buffaloes, pigs, cats and dogs. And of course, endless motorbikes loaded up with seemingly impossible loads.The days are very cold, and at night we do homestays in small villages where there is no heat
I am, and will always be, amazed by the tough mountain people that we meet along this trip. They have worked every day of their life and manage to stay alive trough these cold, bone-chilling winters with very little clothes. Many without shoes. I find myself rembering how incredible lucky I am to have what seems so simple in my Western lifestyle: a roof over my head, food and hot clean water on demand. Here in Vietnam we a chicken costs 15.000Dong (75 cents) and a farmer earns 4.000.000Dong/year ($200). These people are beyond poor but still smiles at us as we walk by, like there would be no other place they would ever want to be. I admire that. When I ask Yaa what time of the year is the best to come visit she simply answers; "every day is a good time to be here, I'm happy every day".
On the last day of our trek we have lunch at her sister's village. Josh and I sit and watch as Yaa and her sister and her sister's four children help prepare our meal. I try not to freak out about them using the same rusty knife while cutting up vegetables, chicken and well, anything else that we are about to eat. Her sister has made some rice wine (glorified moonshine) and we pretty much have to finish the bottle before we leave the table
We say good bye and go on our merry way and suddenly we hear Yaa's sister call our names. Turns out that when Josh grabbed the chocolate out of my bag, a pair of underware fell out on her floor..... so there we were laughing out of the top of our lungs at my panties in the midst of the cold Vietnamese mountains. It made us all warm at heart, and I blushed for miles.
Back in Sapa town Josh and I took farewell of Yaa and a much welcoming shower was awaiting us. The rest of the day we spent trying to stay warm in our hotel that had no heat. Josh played some tunes and won the hearts of the hotel staff that kept calling him Number 1 and one of the guys gave him a flute as a parting gift.
The warmth of the H'mong women in Sapa will stay with me forever. This was a trek of a lifetime.