Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Faces of Sapa, Vietnam

The real deal is, I have to single handedly put everything back together with on my own, it will definitely take some time and is testing my patience and others, it's typically frustrating at this moment.

But there is a sweet encounter, a detour of personal interest, I do hope it turns out good for both of us. Breath, Andrew, breath! You will eventually reach the final line, slowly but surely.

Give me a hug if you see me, we all need a lot of loves, good time and bad time.

Sapa, Vietnam

The weather at night was still moderately warm before I embarked on Sapa Excursion, located at the the remote Northwest mountains of Vietnam, it is famous for its rugged scenery and also its rich cultural diversity - Wiki Travel.

Sapa and its surrounding is a host to hill tribes and rice terraces, it ranks among Halong Bay and Hoi An in terms of tourist attraction solely on the merit of its natural beauty and surrounding attractions.

It's particularly rich in opportunities for treks, homestays, and beautiful panoramic views, you can book such tour packages for as cheap as less than RM120 or $30.

The magnificent of rice terrace panoramic scene of Sapa

The Black H'mong lady with her baby, who stopped me from going into China border when I got lost in Cat Cat Village

 

The kids would be mingling around, normally the parents were the one doing the selling, kids at this age were too young to be selling

I will have detail writeup about Sapa in other posts.

Bia Hoi (Hanoi Beer)

There was at least couple of hours interval before catching up with the eight hours overnight air-conditioned train at 10pm after I got back from Halong Bay Excursion the same day.

I was carrying my backpack roaming around in Hanoi Old Quarter, realizing how heavy it was, I quickly settled down at the busy junction for some good street food, usually noodle soup or meat rice and cheap Hanoi beer.

A glass of bia hoi for RM1, no kidding

Busy inter junction famous for bia hoi

A glass of Hanoi beer (Bia Hoi) was as cheap as $0.30 or less than RM1.00.

I stayed there for at least two hours, I took a mouthful sip of the soothing beer and pulled out the "Nothing box" in me and started watching the people, cars and bikes went by.

A "Nothing box" according to Mark Gungor, is one of the many boxes in men's head that literally contains nothing inside. Hence, that explains why we can be stoned for minutes or hours (it looked like a man who was in deep concentration yet felt like his soul had wandered far away from the body, doing absolutely nothing but starting out at something blankly without soul).

Yet when you ask a man what is he thinking, he will say, nothing my dear.. Really, nothing..



It was interesting to be sitting at the what looked like a kid's chair, encountering some random drinking travel mates whom we shared our random experience about some of the highlight of our traveling experiences.

Sapa was one of the topic too, it's quite usual I'd speak about the next destination I was heading to with the travelers, they might be coming from these places, just to be sure I wouldn't miss out on things that worth doing.

Taking The Night Train to Lao Cai, Sapa

It was about 8pm I took off to find a guest house for shower, paid $1 buck for a quick shower before I started walking down to Hanoi Railway station at the east of the town, it was half an hour walk.

Probably wasn't the best idea to walk (half an hour >.<), but I was happy to be able to familiarize myself with the confusing streets since I'd be coming back, it was OK with little help from the easily shy-away locals who spoke very limited English.

Hanoi railway station

To Lao Cai, Sapa
The walk way mixed of departures and arrivals
I spoke about my fantastic experience with my local friend, Tien, who was my trusted driver in two separate post in Exploring Hanoi Old Quarter Streets and My First Couchsurfing Experience in Hanoi.

Tien was considerate enough to book a soft bed overnight train ticket for VND250k, but it wasn't easy to sleep on the train even with the soft bed. 

I was literally awakened by the noisy rail every other hour, the coach was moving swiftly which made it almost impossible for someone to go into deep sleep.

I shared the six bed coach with five other local passengers, it was more comfortable taking the lowest bed by paying additional couple of dollars because there was very little space between the top deck and the ceiling of the coach.

The 6 soft bed coach

There's very little space between the top deck and the ceiling of the coach, I took the most comfy lowest deck

I'd recommend anyone to take the lowest or middle deck for a lot of reasons particularly if you are traveling with your backpack where it would just sit beside you if you are taking the lowest deck.

And I knew an Israel mother who was traveling with her eighteen year-old daughter and booked all the four bed coach for $100 so they wouldn't need to share with other traveling passengers.

The Faces of Kids from Sapa

It was 6am when I looked at the clock, the train finally came to static mode and I knew we arrived from the faces of other passengers. They were all awoke by now, either playing with their phones or combing their hair.

The bus or minivan, for VND120k, took me from Lao Cai station to the town. The bumpy and curvy road wasn't the most exciting one, but the quiet morning with the beautiful green surrounding and fresh air were quite refreshing.

It was such a relief after a long eight hours ride, the surrounding nature consumed me.

I was feeling recharged with so much energy and excitement slowly building up as we neared Sapa town.

That day, I spent $39 dollars for guest house and a travel package for home stay and trek on the next day.

These were just some of the kid's pictures mainly taken from Cat Cat Village, 15 minutes on foot from Sapa town near the Church.

They were kids from Cat Cat Village, Sapa

He was sneezing and got some leftover between the nose and mouth

Had you ever hold a knife at his age?

She looked seemingly like the big sister in the group

The big sister taking care of the younger one

This boy looked like an old man

Beautiful girl

Walking up and down this little kid

She has beautiful oriental eyes

Playing with toys

Kids gathered to watch TVs, we weren't any different too when we were small

I remembered I had balloons too when I was small
These were such lovely kids, with pure soul, simple characters and genuine, I remembered every faces of them, though interaction was scarce and the sweets I brought for them ran out pretty fast.

When I looked them in their eyes, seriously, nothing else mattered. Their pure soul and smiles would melt every single traveler's heart, your life would never be the same again after you see them.

4 comments:

  1. Very good blog and nice information thanks for sharing.

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  3. In late 2014 a new road Hanoi to Sapa completed. You can go by bus or private car hire, travel time will be shortened only 5-5.5 hours. Taking the bus is the cheapest around $ 20 for 1 way, private cars are more expensive than $ 220/04 seats(Hanoi Transfer Service), but you can stop taking pictures and scenery along the way. Hopefully helpful for you.

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