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WildSide... My trip through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand... Qui audet adipiscitur!!!!

Sapa, first day

USA | Monday, 17 November 2008 | Views [211]

The ride up out of the clouds was amazing! It was cloudy and gray in Lao Cai...and bright and sunny up above...I checked in...and had a crappy hotel breakfast...I wandered over to "Baguette and Chocolat" in search of some real nourishment and was not disappointed! The coffee was just right, the au pain chocolat was very nice too! I even ordered a takeaway lunch! I trudged back up the hill a bit and inquired about getting a motorbike! Now, this is a prime example of how things are done in Vietnam, I asked how much to rent for half a day...100,000 dong...then I noticed the petrol was nearly gone! I asked about getting it filled up...and at this point some little Hmong girls got involved because the guy didn't speak very much English...there were different prices depending on how I wanted to fill it up...me or the guy...I asked for the guy to fill it up and the Hmong girls were unanimous that I was lazy! I just didn't know where it went! I could also hope for the best and fill it up elsewhere! Crazy.

The guy took two...I'm not kidding...Aquifina bottles filled with a greenish liquid and popped up the seat! That was different...then I got a lesson on how the automatic bike works...I kept killing the engine!! I sort of got the gist of it...and hopped on (with a helmet fastened) and the girls quipped that I must be an American to hop on a bike like that!! I headed up the road, which was paved for a bit...and turned into a dirt track! I heard that there were some waterfalls up the road...(the little Hmong girls were helpful in that regard).  I almost got creamed a couple of times by the potholes, death ledges, construction trucks, and a buffalo! The track was quite dusty in some areas...just when I thought my nerves were going to fail me...I spotted a roadside house, and the waterfalls!!! I got refueled by Nescafe and some roasted chestnuts...I was served by a sweet lady with a pretty baby girl! I was allowed to take her picture and the lady was kind enough to take mine. I got my photo of the waterfalls and headed on until I hit a construction zone, which I don't like in my OWN country and turned back...going a lot faster!!! I think I even let out an American "Yee-Haw"!!

I stopped by the moto shop and he sent me to Cat-Cat village...and that ride was hairy! I drove thru the town of Sapa...and found a road with just a few bricks here and there! The ticket to get into the village was 15,000 dong, 5,000 for parking, and 30,000 for the show...the Hmong really know what they're doing! The village was totally worth seeing...but one of the songs, a love duet, was played with blades of grass...I found it EXTREMELY hard not to feel embarrassed for the couple! And after the song the audience got its OWN blade of grass! Hilarious. I walked along a suspension bridge next to a more brillant waterfall than the other. Walking back up the steps totally winded me...and I got to take a closer look at the little farmhouses all around while catching my breath...I was stopped at the shack at the top of the stairs by a guard...he was looking at something in my hair! I thought it was one of the huge spiders that I saw...but no, he just wanted to handle my pink hair!! LOL!!! Even the Hmong women and girls were handling my hair! A very eventful first day!!! 

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