Saturday, 9 November 2013

Sa Pa Trekking Day Two

We were woken up by a loud Korean tourist trying to chat up Zao, and then we realised it was already 7am and we’d slept 11 hours straight so it was probably time we were up anyway. Breakfast was at a very relaxed pace, pancakes with local honey and bananas and it wasn’t till 9.30am that Zao signaled that it was time to set off for the waterfall. 

The waterfall - not much water yet!
We saw quite a few other groups on the trail, but none of the other guides seemed as friendly or informative as Zao as she often stopped along the way to point out plants and fruit, some of which we tried and some of which she collected for dinner. Zao also told us about the different minority groups that we passed.

The waterfall was nice, although it was just the beginning of the wet season so there wasn’t a great deal of water flowing over them but at least this meant we could get very close. Just after the waterfall we stopped for lunch and two of the H’mong women who had been trailing us all day put the hard sell on us. The truth was we didn’t like what they were selling so we were fairly insisted on not buying anything, but we did feel quite guilty about it.

After another nice noodle soup we were on our way again hiking back up the valley to the road where we would be picked up from. Most other groups seemed to have finished their hiking and eaten up the top and gone straight back to town, we thought it was much nicer to eat in the valley near the waterfall and then have a hike before returning. 

A boy, his umbrella and his buffalo...
We farewelled Zao back at the hotel, and wished her all the best for her pregnancy. She kindly gave us some hand-made gifts from her tribe and refused any payment for them. Even though we felt that in hindsight the hike was something we could’ve done on our own without a guide we were glad for the opportunity to have met Zao and learn about her culture and way of life as we did the trek.

The view from our window
Our room wasn’t yet ready, so we went to the bus station to try and get tickets for the next morning’s bus to Dien Bien Phu. After quite a wait it became apparent that no one was coming to actually sell tickets so we decided we would just have to buy them through the hotel and pay their commission so we headed back, bought the last two tickets (apparently) and found out that our room was now ready.

From our room we had an amazing view over the valley and the sun set was spectacular as the clouds rolled in. We had a light dinner in town before making use of the last internet we’d have in a while as the next day we would begin our overland border crossing into Laos and we’d only found limited info on what the trip was going to be like and how long it would take, so we really had no idea what it was that we were in for...

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