The long and winding road... that leads to the northwest corner of Vietnam. We took an overnight train from Hanoi to make it to the village town of Sapa. (This time instead of mice accompanying us we had a nice Australian couple in our cabin!) Sapa really is up there and so different from the rest of Vietnam. There are several different minority ethnic groups in the area and they most definitely identify with their ethnic group rather than with the Vietnamese people. Each group has its own language and dress that identifys them. Unfortunately we didn't learn to identify them or to differentiate them, except by the hats they wore.
The overnight train arrived very early to Lao Cai where we hopped a bus to Sapa. The road was so steep and windy with very, very few guardrails. The drops were precipitous to say the least. But the views were amazing! The land was all lush and green and much of the mountainsides were terraced for rice and other vegetable growing. Unfortunately when we got to our hotel (with amazing views!!) we decided to nap after the long train ride. When we awoke the whole town was engulfed in a cloud that was too stubborn to leave. So we left first.
We did enjoy the market and made a few token purchases to keep our heads warm. We also took in a traditional song and dance show at a very cheezy disco bar. Between the ball rotating and the Air Supply songs they would pull out a traditional number or two. At night the real hard sells came out. We were offered, "Bananas? Opium?" In Sapa we got loads of offers of marijauna, hashish, and opium. It really saddened me because I wonder if thats what these hill people think, the westerners will smoke it?
After a day poking around the hills of Sapa we took off for the border town of Lao Cai. Overall we have had a wonderful experience of Vietnam. It is a beautiful country and its people are fascinating. I mean that in many senses of the word, both good and bad. But on for more adventure...
Movin' right along we found a life on the highway,
And your way is my way, so trust my navigation.
California here we come, that pie-in-the-sky land.
Palm trees and warm sand, though sadly we just left Rhode Island.