In the shadow of Fancypants
31.10.2010 - 03.11.2010
After a small taster of Hanoi, which I'll come back to later, we caught the night train to Lao Cai and arrived in Sapa very early this morning. Could it even be possible that the Vietnamese trains are noisier than Chinese? With no sleep whatsoever we decided to turn our itinerary on its head and push through with the 18km walk down through the terraced valley, passing Hmong and Dzao villages along the way.
Our guide, Lam, is an 18yo Hmong woman who grew up in this area. She spoke proudly of the cooperation between villagers of different ethnic minorities to make sure the youngsters receive a good education and have a decent future.
Apart from the opportunity to find out about a very different way of life and admire some breathtaking scenery, we also became acquainted with all manner of piglets, ducks, geese, dogs and water buffalo. Rhetorical question: if a water buffalo fell on you from a height of - say 2m - would it kill you? We very nearly found out!
As for the Fancypants reference, that's actually Mt Fansipan, the highest mountain in Vietnam. It will still be there tomorrow, ripe for conquering after a decent nights sleep.