Monday, November 7, 2011

Finally arrived at Lao Cai railway station at 5.30am and it took another 1hour on the van to go up to Sapa mountain. Sapa is actually the home of the minority people called H'Mong and Zao. Aside from selling handmade products, they also cultivate rice and corns.

Being on the mountain, Sapa weather is very cooling and nice. This could be an ideal relaxation place.

We arrived at North Star Hotel and went to the restaurant directly for breakfast. Vietnam is also popular for their "pho" (pronounced as "fur") which is beef noodles. The noodles looks like "kuey teow" but it tasted very soft just like Penang hor fun. I will definitely miss this noodles!

We walked the whole Sapa town and observed that there are alot of tribes people selling their products there. The Zao and H'mong sell mostly handicraft. And either they carry a big basket containing their products and material, or carrying their baby.

We then climbed up the Ham Rong mountain. The hike was a very difficult and tiring one for me. It kind of contradict with the relaxing holiday which I am anticipating and imagining. We walked for around one hour and when we reached the peak, I was like "WHAT'S SO NICE HERE THAT WE HAVE TO CLIMB TO THE TOP?!!!!". Sorry if I wouldn't know how to enjoy the beauty of the view of a town from up above.

Oh ya, we watched some cultural dances at the mountain too. :)

All of us was starving after climbing down from the mountain and had a simple lunch. First time I ate "ku lou har". Usually we would eat "ku lou yok" (sweet and sour pork), and this time they cook the same way for prawns. Not really impressive - do not try this at home. I believe the prawns would taste better with the sauce if they deep fry the prawn for abit first. And ya, it was like the third time we had spring rolls! Guess it is an essential dish for Vietnamese!

More walking and I am really glad I went to Sapa for one thing. I feel more grateful for my life and had realized that my life is way much better than some unfortunate ones. These tribe people have a very difficult life. Mothers would have to do their products at home, and sell it early in the morning.. with baby on their back. One thing that touches me the most is that a toddler would also help their mother to carry their little siblings!

No memorable childhood for these children as a toddler as young as 2 years old are sent outside to sell their products!

And some children are left on the roadside to play without shoes. They are so dirty and their face and clothes are full of dirt and all sort of stains! The last photo showed a child sitting on the road with a overturn cap infront of him for begging purpose. I don't understand why they would want to have more kids if they are unable to provide them with a comfortable living.

More photos below (do click to enlarge) on their daily lives. I was also amused by how the local people fully utilize the function of a motorcycle. They could transport ducks, chickens, dogs, cow and more than 2 people in a motorcycle! This need skill. We, don't have this skill.

Aside from learning alot about other culture, I also learnt that fruits in Vietnam is smaller in size, but sweeter inside! Misses the mango there... :(

Dinner time! Went to Romano's Pizza (Italian Restaurant) and I really hope to taste something different cause have been feeling sick of having the same food everyday. Didn't know that I was fooled. Went to an Italian Restaurant but had the same food of rice, soup, vegetable, chicken, and luckily there is an egg! I can't get enough of eggs. :) Nothing tasted like Italian for our dinner. Had local wine and I couldn't even swallow my first sip. It contained 40% of alcohol!

On our way back to hotel, we couldn't see what's infront. Look at this!

That's all folks!

Day 4 onwards would have to wait...

And thank you Joyce for blogging about this. Joyce Yap in the next few years would be so thankful for remembering this trip because of the blog post.