Bản Dền

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    • Day 17

      Sapa - "It's beautiful but a hard life"

      September 18, 2016 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

      We just finished our 2nd day of a 3 day trek. We are in awe of the people here. They work tirelessly. The quote in the title was spoken by our guide "zee" the morning after she invited into our home and let us help out with some of the rice harvest. She is a really amazing lady-at only 30 she has 3 kids (oldest is 11) and she works constantly due to a lack of creature comforts that we enjoy somewhat thoughtlessly. Mikk and i have thoroughly enjoyed our time here so far. Partly due to the amazing labdscape, partly to the exersize (15km HARD hiking yesterday and today), but mostly because it is so refreshing to remember so palpably why we are so lucky and the kind of life we get to live! We are going to stay in sapa for a few days after getting back to sapa town tomorrow. The temperature is much more tollerable here (25 instead of 40). And we have already covered so muh ground in 2 weeks we want to slow down a bit to squeeze in some relaxing as well!Read more

    • Day 10

      Vietnam - Sapa Day 2

      May 22, 2018 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

      Today after a great breakfast with the family we left to continue our trek. It was to be 14 kms today and so we organised Mu to get a motorbike to take our back packs to the next home stay! Much better idea and we also decided to stick mainly to the roads to avoid me falling down again. Good plan if it had if worked! We walked for about three hours and went to Mu’s house where she cut pineapple for us. Mu works as a guide and her husband stays home and looks after their son. Apparently men think it’s good to marry a guide as they make money.
      The Vietnamese people work so hard in difficult hot conditions. Most of the rice paddies are for their own use not to sell and families help each other in getting the paddies ready. The children have to take the water buffalo out to eat making sure they keep off the paddies. It’s hard hot work for all the family. The local tribe women sell their work and sometimes this is the only money the family gets. I am truly amazed at their stamina.

      We stopped for lunch and met up with some other trekkers from Australia who gave me some drugs! Just panadol and Ibroprufen to help me get through. Maybe that was the problem I was feeling fit and pain free for the next part of our walk. We walked along the road past lots more paddies and the views were spectacular. On the last part of the trek we went off road and headed down hill into the valley where the home stay was. Only 30 minutes left and ‘bang’ my knee gave way and I did a somersault with my knee ending up twisted under me. I thought I was in trouble! Managed to stand up with help from Mu and a local lady and they helped me down the last bit of the track. Most embarrassing as there was a heap of trekkers following and watching the old lady - me - fall!

      Made it to the home stay with my new local lady friend helping, and of course I then had to buy something from her for helping me!

      Home stay is good but different from staying at the local house where we were the only tourist, here we have 11 other tourists. Still good to swap stories and experiences. Lucky our luggage turned up ok and we could have a much needed shower. Ate still more food and went to bed early but didn’t sleep until I found a fan to cool us down. Tomorrow looks like being a rest day for me, I’m stiff and sore and my knee keeps giving way! sucks being a cripple.... but wouldn’t have missed this for anything. Love the people, food and the culture .
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    • Day 8

      Vietnam - Hanoi

      May 20, 2018 in Vietnam ⋅ ☁️ 2 °C

      Last night we wandered down the street and found a roadside cafe where we had an amazing hot pot which was yummy and we watched the rain pour down in a quick rain storm, very humid.

      We had a full day in Hanoi today (Sunday) so we organised to go on a day tour on a bus! At least it was air conditioned and we got to see all the sights of Hanoi. We went to the Ho Chi Minh complex and the line to get into see the body of Ho Chi Minh was two kilometres long and we decided we were not going to stand out in the sun for two hours or more! So we went to the next place the museum of ethnology and learned about how the Vietnamese people live traditionally. We then went to a laqueur factory and saw how they do the traditional artwork and of course they tried to sell us some. Then we had lunch at a restaurant that felt a bit like a Coles Cafeteria! Then back to the Ho Chi Minh complex to walk around the mausoleum and gardens! By this time it was incredibly hot and we all just wanted to stay in the bus. But on we pushed. We then went to the Confucius temple and walked through the gardens which were lovely. Last stop to a pagoda on the West River which was a Buddhist temple. We went back to the lake with the offer to walk back to our hotel or stay on the bus and get dropped off. Guess what we did? Stayed on the bus because we were hot and exhausted. We had already checked out of the hotel in the morning but they let us use the room for a shower which was just what we needed. We had about four hours to wait for the train so we sat in the bar and ate their snacks and had cocktails, then we went for a walk to find a torch which we did then we found a mojito bar where we filled in a bit of time playing Genga. Finally it was time to go to the train station where we found our two berth sleeper and before we knew it we were on our way to Sapa in an express train (which stopped all stations) and I missed them all as I fell straight to sleep. Very glad to be leaving the city for the country!!Read more

    • Day 9

      Vietnam - Sapa

      May 21, 2018 in Vietnam ⋅ 🌬 12 °C

      We arrived in Lao Cai at 6.00am after a great trip on the train, very relaxing and a good sleep. Much improvement on the bus I took 5 years ago.

      We were met at the train station and drove the 30hair raising kms overtaking on corners and driving at break neck speed! Still we arrived at the office of the Sapa Sisters trekking and were given breakfast. Met our guide
      miss Mu and we headed off. Took about two minutes to realise that my light pack was too heavy and it proved to be a hassle from the start. We went down our first track and there the trouble began, the track was steep,skinny and wet and muddy from the rain the night before. Mu had to take my pack after I fell twice on my bum and the pack was so heavy I couldn’t stand up. Thank goodness for the two local women who tagged along to sell us handicrafts because they held my hand and helped me down every difficult bit. Don’t think I would have made it without them.

      On the track Mu pointed out an indigo plant that is used to dye fabric for weaving and showed me how to get the dye out. Now I had a very muddy bum and indigo hands. Pete was busy keeping his own feet and all he could do was look on and laugh as I slipped down the hill on my bum! Very helpful haha! Still once the hard bits were over I managed and the views were amazing. We walked 10kms today through some rough and difficult terrain and by the time we stopped for lunch Pete hated me and I hated me! Both of us agree that we are probably a bit old for this type of trekking.
      Though we did get a round of applause when we made it up a particularly difficult hill.

      The heat was what made it difficult apart from the terrain, it was a relief when we had some light rain. We had lunch at a local house where we were entertained by a piglet knocking the chickens cage to get the rice. Very clever piglet.

      We were staying at Mu’s sister in laws house with the family and got a real insight as to how these people live
      with their pigs, chickens, cats and dogs. The whole family came for dinner and we drank happy water (rice wine) with them and met Mu’s son and husband. Communication was hard but we did learn how to say cheers every time they said just one more! Great experience, both exhausting and amazing. Lovely evening and they gave us our own room and made sure it was really comfortable. No showers and a squat toilet but amazing food and people. We were in bed by 7pm after and exhausting but incredible day.
      Read more

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