Just before t-e-n o’clock, our sleepy heads boarded a six-hour sleeper bus from Hanoi to Sa Pa.
If you were wondering why I separated each letter of the number t-e-n in the previous sentence, it is because LBW has a rule that during the tour, everyone must spell out the number t-e-n and the word m-i-n-e when using the two words. If one of these words slips out of the mouth,
t-e-n push-ups are required.
Each seat was reclined ¾ of the way back, and luckily for me, because I’m short, there was ample legroom space below to sleep comfortably. When I woke up in Sa Pa, we taxied from the bus station to the hotel. There, we relaxed and ate a nice breakfast until our rooms were ready. The afternoon was spent walking around the town while simultaneously taking in the breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys of rice fields in the distance. We ate dinner at a local place, chatted over fried noodles or soup, and threw back too many shots of apple flavored rice wine. Following the meal, we headed back to the hostel, chilled for a little bit, and then proceeded to get ready for dinner. A BBQ buffet was the destination for that evening’s supper, and most dined on chicken, pork, and sticky bamboo rice. The night was a relaxing one as the next day had a lot of exercise in store for us.
At 9:30 am, we started our daunting 14k hike through the rice terraces. Seven hours, one hearty lunch, and 17 sweaty bodies later, we arrived at our homestay for the evening. The trek was a dirty one, with an abundance of mud and animal faeces, but luckily, there were many old ladies who helped us navigate the difficult terrain. In return, they asked us to buy their trinkets that they had made, including using the indigo grown along the road to create a blue dye used in headbands, pillowcases, purses, and clothes.
The evening was once again a laid-back one, with the Wi-Fi turned off. This allowed the group to hang out and get to know one another better. There’s no more efficient way to learn about the person next to you than playing a nice, friendly game of Never Have I Ever.
The next morning was a much lighter 6k hike, although just as dirty, smelly, and mountainous. During the hike, we stopped at a waterfall overlooking a village in the valley, which gave us some splendid panorama shots, not that we don’t have enough of those already. Following the walk, we headed back to the hostel in Sa Pa for lunch, before getting on the sleeper bus to Hanoi, which is where I currently am!
We will be arriving in Hanoi in a few hours, but it will only be a 10-hour layover/night sleep in a hotel. Then, we will head on a 4-hour bus to Ha Long Bay. My next blog post will be dedicated to this three-day trip.
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