Chillin in Sapa

We made it to Sapa in one piece. Our sleeping quarters on the train were brilliant fun. It was two narrow beds and an aisle wide, and three bunks high. You could sit up straight on the lowest level, lean back to save your head on the middle one, and on the top you could barely rest on your elbows. Our train buddies were the two Irish guys we met in Hoi An and a nice Vietnamese girl who taught us all a card game. We stretched a sleeping mat between the two middle bunks and managed to play alright. Once you had your bags away it was prettty comfy. I got to use my sleeping bag so yay! We were, however, invaded by a drunk Vietnamese guy who didn't speak enough english for him to clearly communicate that he wanted one of us to give up our beds. I was topping and tailing with paul on the bottom bunk. After about twenty minutes on the top one I actually felt like i was going to puke. The rocking is amplified the further you are from the ground. So this strange guy (technically he had already made friends with the Irish lads on the Bar carriage) thought he could sleep up the top. But Paul monkeyed his way up there quick smart to demonstrate that the bed was taken. Which was good thinking but he left me wide open to attack from the crazy drunk guy who sat down and shook my hand hello then grabbed my head and tried to kiss me. I think he really just wanted to say hello but i still say that the punch in the chest was justified. Now that i'm into it, i'll tell you the whole story. He eventually got the message and left (we locked the door) but came back (useless lock) with a cardboard box and a sheet and bed down on the floor. But thankfully this only lasted ten minutes before magic train lady came along and asked what the hell he was doing. We thought this would at least be a fast paced yelling match because speaking calmly in Vietnamese usually requires some sort of raised voice, but she spoke really quietly for about ten minutes and he got up and left. Talk about awkward.

Anyway, Sapa is much cooler. We are all thrilled. There are mountains all around us and they're mostly tiered with rice fields. We trekked about 2km to the local waterfalls (in our thongs which i won't do again) and found a place to swim. But apparently this river is not really for swimming (we were kind of between waterfalls) and everyone sat on the edge of the wall thingy to laugh at us. It was freezing but the absolute best fun.

There are some hill tribe people that live near by and we've met about a hundred girls from the H'moung tribe and one lady from the D'zao tribe. I'll fix the spellign later. These girls flock around you and chatter away and they're all selling embroidery and blankets and jewelery. They just hang outside the hotel and they all bring their embroidery to work on. They're great fun but if we bought one thing from every girl we'd have to fly home tomorrow. I've been adopted by one girl called Che. She's twenty and has a gold front tooth and has made me promise to buy something from her. I said something small and she said good. She doesn't seem to have anything on her to sell, but i'm sure when i see her tomorrow she'll unfold a whole store from the front of her pinafore. They wear these warm pinafore things and the older women wear all this fabric wrapped around their heads. The girls wear long stips of heavy fabric wrapped arounf their lower legs and I imagine this would serve the purpose of knee-high socks. But there feet are bare and they wear sandals and thongs anyway.

Our room is at Cat Cat hotel - there's three of them but we think they're all run by the same family. $12 gets us two big (big enough) beds, a fireplace, a spacious bathroom with tub and a tea pot and some tea leaves. And a television but we've hidden the remote from claire. She does this thing where she turns the tv on and falls asleep or leaves or has a shower. Any number of activities that don't include watching the tv. So four hours later when paul and I still aren't ready, I say why the hell are you watching tv anyway?! And he says, hey man, you put it on! And I say bloddy claire has left us with the tv on again and we haven't acheived a goddamned thing.

There's a little slice of our day-to-day life abroad. Did i mention how great Sapa is?? It reminds me a whole lot of Nepal so i'm getting all nostalgic. But no one has told me to shut the hell up with the nepal stories already so i might get another day in yet.

We're holding on as long as we can before we go to bed. Siesta would be fantastic but then my night's sleep will be average.