Star Trekking: The Next Generation
Aug 1, 2007
So it turns out the overnight train was the poshest transportation we have yet encountered. It was sweet and we had two bottles of Dalat wine in case it wasn't.
We arrived a little groggy-eyed the next morning. We quickly found a guesthouse and crashed for a few hours. We spent the rest of the day getting to know the mountain town of Sa pa.
Early the next morning we headed out on our second multi-day trek of the trip. We had a great guide, Chung, whose English was excellent. The first three kilometers was on the road and we thought it was going to be a piece of cake. The village children were trying to sell us bamboo walking sticks and after some consideration we gave in. Turns out it was the best 25c each we have ever spent. The trek left the road and we quickly found ourselves in a beautiful mountainous landscape. Everywhere you looked was green and lush. About mid-day, the trek took a turn for the muddier. And we mean MUDDY!!! Of course, Kate took a small spill down a bit of the mountain and used her bum as a brake against a tree (sorry no pics of this one). The morning portion of the trek was unlike anything you could do in America. The path was rocky, muddy, and barely walkable for uncoordinated westerners. The village children were running past us in flipflops.
We had a lunch break, trekked for a few hours, and then arrived at our homestay. Kate and Ruairi were not allowed in the house until they had washed off (see the pics). We think they won the prize for the muddiest westerners ever. At our homestay we met some other trekkers and played a little predinner poker with matchsticks. Our hosts made an amazing dinner and gave us lots of rice wine. Every few minutes we were all saying cheers and taking shots. Of course by the end of dinner we were all quite happy and a dance party ensued (gotta love European fluffy house music). After all of the dancing, the arm wrestling contests began. During the Ruairi-Kate match Ruairi's chair gave out and he went crashing to the floor (don't worry, he was fine, but it was hilarious).
The next morning after breakfast we headed off for the final leg of the trek. Unfortunately, after the night of rice wine our coordination was not at its peek. Kate and Ruairi spent the first few hours like baby elephants. Carla managed to out do us all and was like a mountain goat on the trail.
Following the trek we went back to town. That night was our last in Vietnam and Chung (our lovely tour guide) wanted to take us out. We went with him to his friend's birthday party at a karaoke bar. We found ourselves in a room full of couches with filled with Vietnamese people sitting around drinking and singing. They were really excited for us to be there and Carla and Ruairi treated them to a memorable rendition of Country Road. We spent the night hanging out listening to them sing. It was hilarious.
The next morning we hopped on a bus and headed to the Chinese border. Goodbye Vietnam, Hello China.
Kate and Carla