15km later... 12/10/2009
 
I have to admit, when Dad told me our last day in Sa Pa would be spent doing a 15km mountain trek i was a little miffed. Not really very happy. Yet 15km later I am smiling ear to ear and typing enthusiastically about this walk.
    
It wasn't an early start
(thank goodness) so I was able to "sleep in" before some yummo breakfast. We met our guide (most things you do in Sa Pa must with a guide) who was a lovely local lady in traditional clothes and very good english. We packed our bags so we were ready for that night when we would be taken away by a night train back to Hanoi. I wasn't too enthusiastic when we started out but it only takes a bit of that stunning scenery and interesting winding path and you can't help but smile!

So we walked and walked and it is really hard to write how good it was, how fun it was, how amazing it was. We finished in  a small village where we ate lunch and met our driver who took us back to hot showers and free internet. So now we wait and relax till 7:00, when our train comes to whisk us away.

Goodbye sa Pa....


This is truly an amazing place.......

 
 
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Before.
A ruff angry looking man woke up, to a most spectacular mountain view. We had decided today to rest, to have a little holiday so we slept in, read and had a nice, easy breakfast. After a bit of dazing and dozing we decided to stroll through the village of Sa Pa, in which we were staying.

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During.

A man in a stripy top, sat the gruff looking man; with hair everywhere possible on his face, down in a barbers chair in the middle of the street. A cracked mirror hung before us, and plenty of little knifes and razors. He started by giving Dad a careful once over. Over grown eyebrows, badly done choppy haircut, nostril hair and ear hair as well as an unkempt beard and rough face.
He carefully selected a bussing razor and started with the hair (on his head) by the end it was a work of art and he was like an artist at work carefully selecting his paintbrushes and making a few careful strokes before changing brush. the whole thing was so intriguing to watch, to experience.
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After.
He was a new man.  Smooth and relaxed and happy. trimmed eyebrows, even haircut, clean ears and beard, soft face...
So we celebrated with an afternoon stroll up a mountain and visited pretty gardens dotted around the mountain and stunning views that accompanied them. There was one which was a bit Alice in Wonderland because to get to it you had to go up a tiny passageway of a path with big rocks to either side of you. Then it came to a dead end. We were very pussled until i carefully looked at the rock next to me....It was a secret low tunnel!!!! We crawled through it and after a bit more of a maze of passageways came to the most stunning view.....


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First of all,
To those who are involved; Have a wonderful Speech Night (HA!!!) and a really fantastic picnic day!!!

I wish I could be there...

Then again I am having a wonderful time in the mountains of Vietnam...
This morning we arrived in Sapa, The famous mountain village of Vietnam really early on an overnight train, We had to take a long taxi to our hotel but it was all worth it for the views and the beautiful indigenous tribes. After checking into a room with some really stunning views, we had a rice noodle breakfast before heading to the village markets. Sapa is pretty touristy and they sell alot of touristy souvenirs in the market but among the junk there are some really beautiful peices which are traditional to these people and there tribes. All the women here wear gorgeaus patchworky skirts with dozens of pleats through them with embroidered long tunics over the top dyed with the indigo leaves that are harvested in the mountains. Its a little chilly here but its mainly just foggy from being so high up....So as we entered the market dad says: Guys we're here for 4 days so look around, don't buy the first thing you see you like, on the last day we can go get all the things we liked best.

3-4 hours later we trudged through the door -tired from our long hike into a village located in the valley- with three bags full of indigo stuff. Cian was the first to break the vow with a little coin he bought that had a Pig on it...He loves to buy the funniest things. Then admittedly I bought a really gorgeaous blanket for my bed. Anyway you know how it goes, a funky little hat later (that you'll never wear) and you seem to have bougfht something from everyone in town. After Cian had a streetside haircut in a little alleyway (which was actually very good) we decided to check out a little tribes village which was located in the valley underneath the mountain where we were later. getting down was fine, and the little village was very interesting, but getting up was a different story. We spent a good long while climbing back up that  mountain......

sigh.

Anyway, today has been a great start to our little Sappa adventure and I'm sure we are going to have a fantastic time..
 
 
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Today we said goodbye to mum which was a bit sad... but we are all alright and I'm sure she'll enjoy having a break from family life for a while.

A couple of days ago we went to Bako National Park and only 5 minutes into this little adventure we had our first taste of the wildlife. Approaching our cabin we were shocked to see monkeys, playing on and around our cabin. Dad went to the bathroom so we were left standing 10 metres away from the cabin with our bags watching the Macacks. What started as "Oh look, they're so cute!" Turned into "that one has a juice popper" to "Oh no, someone didn't close there window and the macacks are going crazy with there room and belongings". By this stage we realised that what we were witnessing was a teenage hoon party with a difference; monkeys were climbing trees with juice poppers which they were pouring all over innocent bearded pigs who just wanted some peace, some were jumping wildly and all were going in and out of the window with all matter of objects. This is when dad came out. Thinking he was a big scary macho man against these tiny little monkeys he quickly started hiising and grunting and stomping to sacre them away. Which worked. In a flash 50 monkeys ran out windows and ran away and most backed away from the cabin...except for one.

Dad rolled his eyes and growled at this monkey thinking it would just run away, but it didn't. It growled back. Again Dad growled at the monkey who this time charged at Dad screaming and ready to attack, suffice to say Dad ran for his life into the bathroom still being chased and shut the door. Feebly opening the window he wailed, "Is it still there?" It was pacing outside the door ready to attack. 5 minutes later it walked away and we told Dad he could come out, The second he came out the monkey saw him and ran at him again putting dad right back into the bathroom. Oblivious and impatient Mum grabbed a stick saying I'm sick of waiting her an stomped up to our room let herself safely in and closing the door. She told us to follow but there was no way I was going to be attacked by a monkey. Cian finally coaxed me to follow him so stick in hand we started up the path to our door. It wasn't long before a monkey came at us and tried to bite Cian, I ran away as fast as I could as far as I could. By the time I came back Dad was safe in the room and Me and Maeve and Cian tried again. We were a meter from the door when a monkey growled at us so I just dived into the room with Maeve, Cian following close behind. We were safe. It was funny and scary and a good story. Dad had been booked into the room next to us (the monkey room)where a couple of other people were staying...It was a bomb in there so Dad grabbed his matress and settled with sleeping on the floor in our room.

I hate to continue and bore you because I know this is long but I must mention our other 2 rainforest stories.
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After we had settled in our room we decided to go for a quick stroll to a beach which was 800m away. "Don't worry about hiking boots, just bring a towel, we won't need water" said Dad. It only took one wrong turn for us to find ourselves on a walk more like 6km than 800m with a steep rocky mountain climb, a cliff face to go down to reach a mediocre beach which we could only stay 5 minutes at due to the time and a storm on the horizon. My crocs weren't up to the challenge nor was our 200ml of water.No one was happy.

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We did end up going to the 800m away beach the next day and it was beautiful, so beautiful that; on our last day we decided to go there again.
This is where the Bear Hunt starts.
on our way to the trail that you took to the beach we spotted a pack of very rare probiscis monkeys that are orange with funny noses. We were only 5 meters away from the and it was incredible, excited by the spotting when they decided to leave the spot we followed them and found ourselves in a mangrovey beach that seemed to connect with our desired location. "We should see if we can go around the point to the beach rather than that hard climb over the mountain". Although only 800metres it was a hard 800metres going over a mountain to get to the beach and the thought of a 200m flat walk around the point was tempting, so we went. The frst challenge was with our monkey friends. Yes, the famous Macacks. Who were blocking our passage along the magrovey beach. We couldn't go around them, nor over them, nor under them so we had o go through them. They groweld at us and tried to hit us and we were all really scared so by the time we had passed them and found ourselves in metre deep sinkung mud I panicked. Again we couldn't go around it or under or over it, so we had to go through it. I was seriously seriously scared. At one point I got stuck and couldn't get out but with a little help unstuck myself. Panicky and unhappy I winged and cried and tried to say we should go back, I was covered in mud and we didn't even know if we would be able to reach the beach. But we kept going, sobbing away we climbed over slippery rocks and I slipped. Now not only covered in mud but also blood for I had scraped my whole leg down a rock covered in oysters. That was the last straw, well it turned out not for Dad told me to stop whining and man up. I did, trying not to cry blood streaming down my leg I clambered over the last rock went through a scary dark tunnel and... WAS ATTACKED BY A BEAR!

No actually we reached the beach and it was nice and we had a nice time and I washed my leg and it was all cool.

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