Monday, May 01, 2006

The Hills of Sapa - Northern Vietnam

Some of the most pitoresque hikes in Vietnam are those around Sapa. Gorgeous place indeed. Poor foreigners catching their breath while patroling the rice paddies while, naturally, the Hmong think nothing of it.

The lower hils are so wonderfully sectioned in rice paddies, higher past 2000 m the jungle rules. We were considering hiking Fansipan, the tallest peak in Vietnam but once we read the requirements (fit chaps = 2 days, regular guys (like us) = 4 days) we decided strolling around on the lower hills (1500 m) was good enough for us.

As I said, our first stop at Bac Ha we were pretty much ignored by the locals. Sapa was strange and funny most times, cause 70 year Hmong grannies were shouting stuff in English at us, normally selling all kinds of embroidery (good looking stuff - I cracked under pressure and I bought some in the end - actually I really loved colors), and kids were either innocently charming (again running empty bottocks through the rice paddies) or ferocious entrepreneurs chasing us for miles to sell us stuff. I believe they must hold the world record here: we had 2 10 year old girls walking behind us with merchandise for 30 min. Patience is a virtue, right!


Anonymous said...

cum ai ajuns asa departe de romania, te-ai maritat?

Carmen said...

da!!! he he he...sotul e thailandez...shi Vietnamu ii doar la o aruncatura de bat!

C.i.p.r.i.a.n said...

Well, I must say ... touting is one of the things I hate the most. I wish I could "blend in" and appear like a local so I wouldn't get abused by everyone selling things.

It's true ... for these people is a way of making a living, is it a fair or unfair way though? In our society we could perhaps compare it to spam. I think we feel guilty because, as westerners maybe we have more money and we can afford more ... but should we?
I think we shouldn't... yet, I'm not used to having to defend myself from armies of touts. And in the end I feel bad, and I don't enjoy the travelling experience that much.

Ah, I'm such a sensitive boy! :-)))

C.i.p.r.i.a.n said...

Hey, one more thing ... in Firefox, the font used in the Links and Posts section is awfully small. Everything works fine in IE though. What did you do, huh?!

Carmen said...

Yeap, played around with the fonts a bit...but since I don't use Firefox I had no idea. Thanks.