Start a new Travel Blog! Blogabond Home Maps People Photos My Stuff

Northern Vietnam

Sa Pa, Vietnam

We are currently in the northern mountains of Vietnam after finishing a two day trek and spending the nights in local villages. It was a great experience, something I will remember for a long time to come. That said, I continue to get the feeling that Vietnamese people are not quite as warm and welcoming as other Asian cultures. However, I may not be getting a representative sample . . . it may be a result of finding ourselves on "tourist road".

The trek we walked is the common trek that most foreigners do when they come to Sa Pa. Jocelyn did this same trek 7 years ago and found no other foreigners on the trail and was not accosted by any village people who were looking to sell their trinkets. Now, however, at times we were literally in a line of people walking the trail and were asked at least 60 times a day "you buy from me?" by a local village person (usually young girl or woman with a baby on her back). Along these lines, the homestays where we stayed were lacking the interaction we were hoping for. I speculate this is an extension of the local people seeing hundreds of tourists a week and not being especially interested in interacting . . .

All that said, there were some amazing positives to the trek. The scenery is stunning. The manner in which every inch of a mountainside is used for either rice or corn crops is amazing, and the simple, demanding nature of farm life was understood and appreciated. Once again, I hope to have some pictures soon to show the beauty.

One of the highlights of the trek was our first night homestay. We were introduced to what the locals call "happy water" (aka rice wine)--the more you drink, the happier you get. There were 5 of us from Ross (Joc, Viv, Ben, Aaron and me) and we were joined by two people from Ireland and the family whose house we were staying in. We thought it would be a glass or two of the Rice Wine (which, by the way, drinks way more like grain alcohol or vodka than wine), but they continued to fill up the bottles and pour the shots. Before it was all done, we had 13 shots (smaller than normal) of rice wine and some beer and Aaron paid the family $10 USD for a duck so we could chase it around the yard . . . enough said (I will elaborate for you poultry lovers out there. After realizing that if we chased the duck they would then kill it and eat it because it would sustain injuries during the chase, we opted for a few pictures with the freaked-out duck instead of a chase).

On our way out of the last village we stayed in, we opted to ride on the back of motorbikes up a dirt road being turned into a paved road. On this day though it rained incredibly hard and the dirt road quickly became an ultra-adventurous mud road! Aside from driving up the mud road on the back of a motorbike, we also stopped twice as the road workers blew dynamite, sending huge boulders into the air. Pretty crazy. What was also somewhat crazy to me were these young Vietnamese guys driving us up what was most likely an unsafe mud road . . . when a generation ago we would have been pointing semi-automatic weapons at each other. In that sense as well as how touristy this area has become so quickly, it is quite amazing how times and places change. All for the better? Again, only time will tell.

All-in-all a great trek with amazing scenery I hope to share soon.

permalink written by  GoBlue on June 17, 2007 from Sa Pa, Vietnam
from the travel blog: Carl's Circuit
Send a Compliment

carl sounds like fun timesand times you will never forget...enjoy and stay safe...say hi hey did mom tell you sabrina had her puppies sun june 17 ( fathers day) she had 6 one died so 5 i think 3 girls and 2 boys.

permalink written by  staci on June 20, 2007

comment on this...
Previous: Good Morning Vietnam! Next: Adolescence can suck, kinda.

trip feed
author feed
trip kml
author kml


Blogabond v2.40.58.80 © 2024 Expat Software Consulting Services about : press : rss : privacy
View as Map View as Satellite Imagery View as Map with Satellite Imagery Show/Hide Info Labels Zoom Out Zoom In Zoom Out Zoom In
find city: